Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is allegedly one big scandal that has been created by the Director General (DG), Gilbert Macharia Kibe.
He has allegedly been working to the advantage of Jetways and Skyward which have cargo aircraft. In fact, the son, a source intimated, is a pilot working at Skyward.
Kibe, besides owning a flying school at Wilson, operated LET 410 aircraft that transported miraa to Somalia and other destinations prior to his appointment as the DG.
Kahawa Tungu has also learnt that, currently Dash 8 aircraft, made in such a way that the cargo hold can extend by removing some seats and leaving 21 seats for passengers is now being used exclusively for cargo.
“This is dangerous as achieving the Centre of Gravity and balancing the aircraft without 21 passengers is very difficult,” the source said.
The other operators; Bush Air, Rudufu, Buff Air, Capital Air, Freedom Airlines and Silverstone operate Fokker 50 aircraft.
The aircraft, owned by indigenous Kenyans, not of Somali origin are reportedly being targeted by Somalis (indigenous and foreign) to control miraa business right from the farm, transport by road and by air.
“This is very clear despite the Fokker AFM (Aircraft Flight Manual) describing the aircraft as certified for public transport category (passenger and freight).”
Kenya was recently awarded category One status by ICAO meaning there will be direct flights to and from the USA to Kenya. But Kibe is apparently is hiding under this to shut some operators and benefit from others who have employed his relatives and help him operate his flying school.
The easiest way forward, our source has said, is to give all operators 1 or 2 years to conform to the standards Kibe has put in place.
To convert the aircraft in miraa/khat business to full cargo status, Kahawa Tungu has discovered, requires an operator to spend between $300,000 -1,500,000 depending on the size of the aircraft besides ferrying the aircraft to Europe and the time frame required ranges from 6 months to 1 year to convert them.
Currently, the above companies are heavily in debt, have staff to pay and loans to service. The economy stands to suffer loses. More than 2,000 employees and banks stand to loose more than Sh20 billion on facilities given to all these operators.
“The operators have sought audience with the DG and any person who matters in Kenya but the cartel that is involved appears to be too wired to penetrate.
The thought of even transferring miraa operations to Isiolo airport would be best. The only thing Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has to do is make the airport 24 hours by installing runway and overhead lights in the airport. The airport has enough runway for any aircraft to land and take off and the miraa farmers will only take one hour to reach the airport reducing all the accidents caused by miraa vans on their way to Nairobi,” the source intimated.
KCAA has allegedly threatened that any operator who takes them to court will face dire consequences by having its Air Operation Certificate, Certificate of Airworthiness and Air Service License cancelled, revoked or will not be renewed after expiry which is normally one year from the date of issue.
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