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Lobby urges Parliament to defer aviation bill

By Noel Wandera
Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Kenya Airways
A Kenya Airways plane in the sky. PHOTO/FILE
In summary

The Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) has petitioned Parliament to withdraw the National Aviation Management bill 2020 that seeks to nationalise struggling Kenya Airways (KQ).

Presenting views as part of a public submission towards the Bill now before the National Assembly, KAAO spokesperson Eutyhcus Waithaka said for Kenya to be competitive, challenges facing the whole aviation eco-system must be addressed, and not only those affecting KQ.

Waithaka said the strategy must also include boosting ground services such as in-customer service, airport entertainment for transit passengers and Wi-Fi internet connectivity.

“As part of Kenya’s long-term strategy to grow and diversify the economy, among other ways, the country must maintain and grow its position as an integrated regional hub, similarly to the strategy pursued by other locations such as the Gulf States, Turkey, China and Ethiopia,” he said.

Knock-on effect

With 15 designated National Carriers registered and operating out of Kenya, Waithaka said benefits that will accrue from the proposed Bill must also have a knock-on effect on  other players in the ecosystem to make them competitive for team Kenya’s wellbeing.

“Rather than merge Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) with a struggling airline, we must debunk the misguided thought that the national airline builds the hub.

A hub is built by providing modern, efficient and affordable facilities that lure international operators to use it and by creating an efficient eco-system within the country’s aviation players,” Waithaka said.

The Bill proposes establishing the Kenya Aviation Corporation, a holding company to oversee operations of KQ once it is delisted from the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and the Kenya Airport Authority as the sector regulator.

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