MORE PILOTS FOR ‘THE PRIDE OF AFRICA’
It was learned this morning from a source in Nairobi that Kenya Airways, currently already employing almost 380 pilots, is sending yet more for the initial basic training to South Africa, where the ‘aspirants for wings’ will join another 45 colleagues, presently undergoing their induction into flying a first ‘light’ and then eventually commercial aircraft. Few if any of them appears to have had any prior knowledge of private or commercial aircraft operations and will learn their new craft from scratch, i.e. undergoing all the rigours of learning how to fly, how to navigate and lots more of course, before being able to eventually to their first ‘solo flight’ in a couple of weeks.
The more than 5 million Kenya Shillings cost of the course is being financed by Co-Operative Bank of Kenya and will be repaid in instalments once the trainee pilots have been deployed and are earning their first salaries with KQ, which in turn guarantees employment to every successful graduate of the course. It does appear that they will be ‘bonded’ for a period of time, to allow the airline re-coup training expenses and their investment in manpower development, but this is almost normal these days, considering the extremely high cost involved, before a trainee pilot can be deployed on one of their aircraft. The training school is based in Port Elizabeth where the students will progressively graduate through the various stages, the first being the PPL or Private Pilots License, followed by the Commercial Pilots License before eventually reaching the final stage of attaining an Air Transport Pilots License or ATPL.
Kenya Airways has for years been engaging in such training support in order to ‘grow’ their next generation of pilots from within and not having to rely on the recruitment of expatriates or having to poach pilots from other airlines.
FAIRMONT TO TURN THEIR LIGHTS OFF TO HONOUR ‘EARTH HOUR’
Fairmont’s Kenyan properties will join their global colleagues on the 26th of March at 20.30 hrs (08.30 p.m.) to honour the World Wildlife Fund’s request to reduce energy consumption in a bold visible action.
The Kenyan properties of Fairmont, most notably The Norfolk Hotel and the Mount Kenya Safari Club, will go ‘candle light’ for one hour, although especially in the city hotel the emergency lighting on fire exits and other crucial points will remain on, to ensure that safety standards are not compromised. Guests will be advised by hotel management of the annual initiative and be asked too to observe the WWF sponsored initiative which will unfold across the globe.
Supporting such initiatives turns the spotlight to the ever rising energy consumption and the options individuals and companies actually have to play a part in reducing their own levels of electricity usage, by switching equipment from ‘standby mode’ to actual ‘off mode’, introducing energy saving state of the art domestic and industrial equipment like fridges, flat irons, toasters and a range of other electricity guzzlers, and turning lights off unless they are absolutely necessary. This will help save energy and will also be making a positive impact on the bills at the end of each month.
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EAST AFRICAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS TO CONDUCT TOURISM SURVEY
Information was received overnight that members of EALA will begin a region wide assessment and survey of the tourism sector to get first hand feedback of how the EAC’s programmes towards tourism and wildlife management are being received, implemented and effective.
The first ‘destination’ will be Bujumbura, followed by Kigali and Kampala, before then targeting the EAC home turf of Arusha and visiting Zanzibar. No details are yet available when Mombasa and Nairobi tourism stakeholders will be consulted.
Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, is arguably the least visible tourism destination in the region, and while the country does have national parks and lake shores, it has ostensibly done little if anything of substance to integrate into and copy the East African Community member states’ strong tourism sectors. Habitually are enquiries not answered, the country still is overwhelmingly francophone which hampers communications with other member states’ tourism sectors – unlike Rwanda, which has made English the first language of trade, business and even THE medium in education, signalling a total transformation as part of the ‘Phoenix from the Ashes’ rise since 1994 – making cooperation more difficult. The lack of available materials both printed and on the web are an added factor why Burundi is ‘overlooked’ when planning tourist itineraries covering more than one country in the region. EALA will therefore likely find the most need in Bujumbura of transforming Burundi’s tourism potential into a major economic force, while the subsequent visit to Kigali will undoubtedly show them that the EAC membership of Rwanda is working very well and that tourism, like in Kenya for instance, has become an economic powerhouse, here in particular also enjoying the full backing of Rwanda’s government, by both word and deed.
The final visit of this tour will take EALA members to Kampala, where notably only the other day a statement from a senior tourism stakeholder claimed that Uganda should first look after herself before joining EAC initiatives like ‘One Region with Many Attractions’, a clear sign that EALA will need to be persuasive in their arguments when meeting tourism stakeholders to show them that unity offers the local tourism industry better options in the global market place than ‘going it alone’. Here at home it is however undisputed that the pathetic funding of the Uganda Tourist Board is a major cause for its limited ability to ‘work the world’ and carry out generic marketing of the country and while a greater budget has been set aside during the current financial year 2010/11 compared to past years, it is also a sad fact that the financial limitations of the Ministry of Finance has affected the actual money transfers to the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry substantially, leaving UTB, aka Tourism Uganda, again in the financial cold to the detriment of the sector and preventing tourism to exploit its full potential.
Watch this space.