29 Kenyan air operators grounded

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has imposed flight and operational restrictions on 29 air operator certificate holders (AOCs) and 15 approved maintenance organisations (AMOs), after they failed to complete their relevant certifications to conduct international flights.

KCAA’s Director General Gilbert Kibe said that the restrictions will limit operations of the affected holders to operate within Kenyan boundaries, and maintenance organisations to only offer services to air operators that conduct domestic operations. “The holder(s) of the affected AOCs will cease all international operations until such a time that they have completed the certification process to the satisfaction of the Authority, and in strict compliance with the applicable regulations,” he said.

The decision is said to have been sparked by the crash of the FlySAX Cessna plane, which went missing on Tuesday June 5, and was found on Thursday June 7 with all 10 passengers deceased. The aircraft took off after multiple delays due to bad weather. Investigations are underway as to the exact cause of the crash.

Kibe further explained that with Kenya being a signatory state to the Chicago Convention, which ‘establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel’, the KCAA “is obliged to ensure that all activities in the aviation industry are conducted in a manner consistent with the Convention and Annexes thereto”.

The mass air operation restriction also comes in advance of the forthcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit scheduled for July, said CEO of the Kenya Association of Air Operators, Eutychus Waithaka.

The cases will be reviewed over the next three months to see if they meet the requirements. “The Authority will continue to process the certification of the affected operators as is our mandate, and urge their cooperation at all times. The travelling public and users of air services are reassured of the safety of air operations, and the actions taken by the Authority are aimed at enhancing compliance with regulations as well as fostering the safety and security of the aviation industry in Kenya.”

The audit will include a full evaluation of the AOCs and AMOs structure, flight equipment, on-board medical equipment, and operation manuals subsequent to licensing. “It is in the fourth and fifth phase that they are given an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to fly safely, and later awarded their operation certificate,” said Waithaka.

Kibe has refrained from releasing the names of the affected AMOs and AOCs, saying that “we need to protect their privacy and business; we do not want the public to believe that the airlines are unsafe to fly with”.


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