Monday January 8, 2018
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has warned airlines flying locally and to neighbouring countries their licences will be cancelled if they continue disregarding regulations relating to carriage of cargo.The Star has also learned that, despite several warnings, some operators have continued to provide air services across the country without licences.
In a letter addressed to airlines dated December 18, 2017, the KCA director general, captain Macharia Kibe, said it was an offence for airlines to use passenger flights to carry cargo.
Neither are they to use cargo planes for passengers without approval by KCA and manufacturer modifications.
“It has been observed there has been disregard of the law and the regulations as regards the carriage of cargo by aircraft by Air Operator Certificate holders that provide freight services,” said part of the letter.
In one case, Kibe through a letter signed by Captain Tom Ongeche and in possession of the Star, directed a-well known airline operating from Wilson Airport to stop operations because it had changed shareholders without notifying the KCA.
It was also operating scheduled flights under another company that did not have an air services licence.
“This is a serious violation of the regulations and the authority reserves the right to met sanctions against your company.
“The Authority directs that you stop conducting domestic scheduled air services forthwith, either by yourself or through any other operator, until and when granted variation of license by the Authority,” said another KCA letter written on November 6 last year and signed by Ongeche.
KCA in its communication with air operators points out that the violation of carriage of cargo is the worst and most rampant offence and could threaten Kenya’s desire to have direct flights to and from the United States.
The worst affected are the airlines that ferry passengers and cargo, especially miraa, to Somalia. They include Capital Airlines,Sskyward Aviation, Bluebird Aviation, Silverstone Airlines, Buffair Airlines, Rudufu Airlines and Bushair Services.
The operators of the light aircrafts in some cases remove seats aircraft and ferry cargo.
According to the Civil Aviation Act ( 2013 ) and the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act 2016 and various international regulations, operators are supposed to strictly adhere to safety guidelines for either passenger or cargo carriage.
Breach of these regulations cannot only lead to the cancellation of the licences by the KCA, but could also lead to international air transport regulators like IATA banning Kenyan registered planes as it happened to Uganda four years ago.
Unlike passenger planes, cargo aircraft have special configurations that secure the cargo on board.
According to KCA regulations aircraft licenced to carry passengers are only allowed to load cargo in specific compartments.
But seven airlines operating both at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and at Wilson Airport have been disregarding this requirement.
The Star has seen some operators contravene the law removing passengers seats and placing cargo in the bins, endangering the pilot’s life.
According to aviation experts if the cargo that is loaded on the passenger aircraft is not properly secured while on board, it can move due to turbulence and pilot will be unable to control the aircraft because the weight will be unbalanced.
According to the KCA, a cargo aircraft should comply with compartment classification as defined under regulations of 2013 that clearly states what a cargo carrier should look like.
“Regulation 179 prohibits the carriage of cargo in the passenger compartment of an aircraft unless carried in approved cargo bin that ensures proper weight distribution, that the bin shall be attached to the seat tracks or to the flow structure and stowed in compliance with restrictions.