(eTN) – Emotions were once again running high between Kenya aviation stakeholders and the regional Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA), when the latter announced the introduction of yet another fee to finance operations.
“These bureaucrats never learn. They also never listen. They are the main obstacle to make flying in the region more affordable. Each CAA levies us with fees and charges; here in Kenya they want to raise fees by 400 percent in some cases. When we fly across East Africa, we are treated by some countries like foreign airlines and made to pay higher fees. Now CASSOA also wants to dig our pockets, wants flying to get more expensive.
“There is a lot of duplication in the region, which makes us acquire multiple permits and licenses for the same thing we are already licensed at home. If the other CAAs do not recognize our permits and our licenses, what does that tell you? Do they not trust the integrity of the process here in Kenya when we are compelled to acquire the same permits in Uganda or Tanzania? If that is so, we want know what objections they have. After all we all now have the same regulations.
“It is time to uproot these bureaucrats from their comfortable offices and create just one aviation regulator for East Africa with branch offices in each member state for convenience of applicants and airlines. This will save a lot of money and can translate in lower ticket charges and fares.
“I also blame the FAA for funding some of these processes and see duplications remain, obstacles becoming higher, and they only believe their regulatory brethren and also do not listen to input from airlines. Can CASSOA justify their financial demands? Whom do they answer to and are accountable to? When they ‘direct,’ we must jump, but when we complain, they take ages and are defensive.
“We want an aviation ombudsman for the region with real powers; we want meaningful and regular interaction where they have to listen and absorb our input, not just nod and grin and then put it aside and get on with their own things. This is becoming a joke, but an expensive joke,” said a regular source from an airline operating from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport, who blames aviation regulators for being “dictators, not partners; they are autocratic like old headmasters ruling with the cane and not logic.”
Harsh words and surely not the last we have heard of this latest exchange of spats between Kenya’s airlines and the regulators.