Kenya Airport Authority summoned to parliament


(eTN) – Although the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) issued belatedly apologies to the general public and the entire aviation fraternity at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for the power outages, incidentally rejected by a number of airlines as “insufficient as long as no compensation is offered,” parliament was even swifter in summoning the KAA management to explain what is going wrong under their jurisdiction.

Repeated outages of power over the last weekend, and notably on several occasions in the past, including an outage of several days at the Mombasa airport, caused airlines to incur heavy losses by diverting flights to other airports in the region and then having to deal with thousands of passengers having missed connections. The damages the various affected airlines suffered are now in the million-plus dollar range, considering subsequent delays of other flights. KAA has remained entirely quiet on this issue of having to pay up for the gross negligence, which brought on these problems in the first place.

KAA has been stuck in controversy since the days of the previous CEO George Muhoho when it was under a growing range of allegations vis-a-vis contract awards, patronage, and cronyism, and his succession was also under investigation by parliament, only to be thwarted by the hasty appointment of the current CEO Stephen Gichuki by the minister in charge of transport.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the parliamentary committee has now finally grabbed the opportunity to get to take KAA to task, and sources in Nairobi have suggested that widespread calls from the aviation fraternity at JKIA to affect immediate personnel changes at the airports authority may well be mirrored by parliament, should the answers provided by Gichuki and his hapless men fail to satisfy the MPs.

In a related development, other “lesser” airports in the region were swift to jump on the bandwagon and point airlines their own way, citing available capacity for flights and passengers in often substantially underutilized facilities, trying to exploit Nairobi‚Äôs repeated power failures in recent days.