KENYA CIVIL AVIATION PLANS FEE WHOPPER
While aviation stakeholders have been locked in a seemingly never ending argument with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, with a near breakdown of relations when KCAA broke a gentlemans agreement on the implementation of hugely controversial new regulations last year, the stand offs are not about to end it seems. The general public in Kenya will be waking up today to news that KCAA is attempting to raise regulatory and other fees but not just by making up for inflationary trends. Doubling up to quadrupling of rates is on the card for them as they are seeking government approval to do a vampire act on us as one usually very candid aviation source from Nairobi put it to this correspondent.
Several aspects of the planned fee increases have been vehemently critizised, such as plans to raise fees related to pilot aspirants, with certain examination fees tripling under the proposed new regime.
The aviation industry is facing a serious challenge to find enough young pilots as it is, and fleet expansion by Kenya Airways and ongoing brain drain to the Gulf has prompted aviation observers to question the wisdom of making pilot training more expensive, instead of making it more affordable to create a larger pool of future commercial pilots.
While it has been acknowledged that the last major fee revision was over a decade ago, in particular the general aviation sector, including the leisure flyers on weekends can brace themselves to see an already expensive hobby become even more expensive. Needless to say, there are substantial objections to the KCAA proposals but few expect government and KCAA take notice of those, as they are known to brush aside submissions from the private sector and do what they want in a near unaccountable scenario, similar to the take it or get out attitude shown over the introduction of the last round of regulations.
The chairman of the East African Aero Club did not mince words either as he described KCAA as a leech on an already embattled industry.
Said one regular source: KCAA and government cite lack of inspectors, which is true, there are not enough, but instead of pooling their resources with other EAC aviation regulators, they are just looking at their own fiefdom. Airworthiness inspectors and specialists should be shared amongst EAC countries, is could save considerable expense which can translate in lower charges for flights. They also should to a thorough analysis of their internal dead wood and stop forcing the industry from requiring multiple and repetitive permits and licenses. When one has an AOC in Uganda, when one has a pilots license in Tanzania that should be accepted without ifs and buts here in Kenya too, after all East Africa is now under CASSOA and has harmonized regulations. But it shows it is all about fees and to finance a structure of national regulators which should be merged into one body under EAC and branch offices in the member countries.
Watch this space as the latest round of spats, accusations and counteraccusations unfolds between the KCAA and aviation stakeholders and airlines.
Archive for September 5th, 2011
KENYA CIVIL AVIATION PLANS FEE WHOPPER
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FINALLY COMING TO EAST AFRICA
The East African Community has over the weekend announced that citizens of member states, wishing to reside in one of the other EAC countries, will now be guaranteed immigration clearance for 6 months at a go without the previously often used 30 days limit being continued.
The new rule however is presently only an intermediate step of the full freedom of movement, envisaged by the founding spirit of the EAC, as those wishing to work, at least in some member states, still require to obtain a work permit, unless exempted by an additional bilateral treaty as for instance in place between Rwanda and Kenya. There the respective nationals can both reside and work in the other country without additional bureaucratic hindrances.
A range of enabling protocols and regulations are presently being rolled out and implemented, leading to eventually a full free movement of goods and people across the region without the national border posts then having to play much of a role, if any.
National non tariff barriers and failures of the region to implement a fully functional and compatible ID card system has been largely blamed for the slow pace of permitting East African citizens to move freely between countries, making the use of passports mandatory, as for instance Uganda does not have a national ID card which in the future will permit the crossing of borders within the EAC, as long as all countries are compliant.
EAC passports, presently in any case only valid to travel within the EAC, are also not being issued at the moment as new technology is being introduced across the region to make the travel documents machine readable, while diplomatic efforts continue to ensure a wider recognition permitting holders to travel beyond just East Africa. Growing together in the region continues, albeit at a slow pace where much patience is still required to see the full privileges of the old EAC once again restored for the people of the region.
NEW AIRLINE FOR NEW COUNTRY
South Sudans latest privately owned airline, Southern Star, took delivery last week of their first aircraft, a Dash 8 supplied by ALS of Nairobi Kenya on a long term contract.
The new airline is reportedly planning to start operations with domestic flights across the vast Southern Sudanese territory, connecting Juba with such towns like Malakal, Rumbek and others. Air transport is seen as a fast and safe mode of travel within the South Sudan, where a nationwide cross country network of highways and roads is only now beginning to be constructed.
According to a source from Nairobi Southern Star is due to receive additional leased aircraft from ALS in due course, to expand their network into the wider region. The new Republic of Southern Sudan is expected to commence negotiating bilateral air services agreements, in short BASAs with first neighbouring countries, which when coming into effect will regulate the number of frequencies and spell out the number of designated airlines from both BASA partners allowed to fly on the route. Presently airtraffic in and out of Juba is dominted by foreign airlines but sooner or later the principle of reciprocity will come into play, giving airlines registered in South Sudan a stronger position when it comes to claiming their share of the traffic.
The ownership of Southern Star could not be immediately established nor could suggestions that ALS was a partner in the venture. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from the East African regions aviation sector.