Business as usual despite new Kenya civil aviation regulations


Reports from the field indicate that, so far, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) inspectors have not “swooped down” on aircraft operators in Kenya to enforce the new contentious Kenya Civil Aviation Regulations (KCAR).

Despite the fact that a few dozen of the regulations are virtually impossible to adhere to in an aviation environment like Kenya, where 80 percent of flying is done into ill-equipped “bush strips,” KCAA has so far not cracked down on operators who are on a daily basis transgressing the new law.

It would appear that, either KCAA does not actually have the enforcement capacity to implement its ill-conceived rules or it is now happy that at least on paper Kenya has met the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) and procedures. It remains to be seen if this will last or whether KCAA will eventually produce the army of inspectors that is required if it is serious about implementing its new rules.

There are some examples of KCARs that are injurious to operators of aircraft and airfields. First, all airfields (even the most basic bush runway) must be “fenced,” have a “security plan,” an “airport manager,” a “security committee,” etc. All of these also applies not only to private airstrips, but also to government runways in the outback. Most operators do not believe that the government (Kenya Wildlife Service, town councils, villages, Kenya Police, etc.) will ever be able to adhere to its own rules, leave alone the missions, camps, farmers, etc. out there who have landing strips that may be used once or twice a month. It is also a question whether the KCAA actually knows where most of these remote airstrips are located. The private sector knows that there are at least 600 airstrips in Kenya, but the official AIP only shows about 350. KCAA will have to do a lot of flying and driving around to find the rest.

Second, each airstrip, according to the regulations, must undergo an annual inspection. It is doubtful that KCAA has the capacity (vehicles, inspectors, aircraft) to actually do that.

Third, commercial aircraft are required to fly only into airfields that are adequately equipped, manned, have security in place, are able to offer the latest weather information, etc. It is doubtful that Kenya can actually provide such facilities, but insurance companies are likely to fall back on the latest law in case of a claim.

There are many other requirements that will affect operators and adherence will drive up the cost of operating aircraft. For instance, two crew operations under some conditions on even small Cessna Caravans, reduction in the number of passengers that can be carried, new expensive equipment requirements such as Traffic Collision Avoidance System and Ground Proximity Warning Systems, etc.

Source: the Aero Club in Nairobi, courtesy of Harro Trempenau