Flight News On Kenya Aviation Industry Thrown Into A Panic Due To Increase In Regulatory Fees
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has met with heavy resistance from industry players in the country for wanting to increase regulation charges on businesses which already feel they are paying levies that are excessive and unreasonable.
The unpopular move by KCAA is aimed at increasing fees and charges to owners and operators of aircraft, the imposition of a security charge on every ticket, increasing the annual fees for licenses both for aircraft and pilots and increasing examination fees for trainee pilots.
However, while the regulator is contemplating on how to implement the new charges, stakeholders in the local aviation industry are already up in arms saying the increments are not justified.
The Association of Air Operators (KAAO) feels that the group of local companies and individuals being targeted by KCAA is very small and cannot sustain the requirements of the authority.
“Most of the new rates lack justification and we plan to seek redress in the courts if KCAA does not follow due process,” KAAO Chief Executive, Col (Rtd) Eutychus K. Waithaka, told local reporters. He pointed out that there were only 600 aircraft in the country and it “beats logic” to force them to bear the burden of financing KCAA operations.
According to the KCAA Act, the authority cannot increase the charges without prior consultation with industry players. KAAO says that although it has written to KCAA on numerous occasions to convene a forum of all stakeholders to deliberate on the charges, the authority has remained silent on the matter.
Industry players also feel that KCAA is resurrecting long-buried proposals to increase regulatory charges. But after years of indecision, ostensibly to avoid a confrontation with the industry, the authority has pulled the sections for charges for Air Navigation Services in the Civil Aviation Regulations from the shelves ready for implementation.
In resurrecting the proposal, which has been around since 2006, KCAA says it is becoming harder each day to carry out its regulatory mandates due to financial constraints. Since its establishment in 2002 by an Act of Parliament, it has become nearly impossible for KCAA to attract and maintain highly skilled personnel due to poor remuneration.
In the new proposals, the regulator is proposing to introduce a new flight safety charge of us $ 2(ksh 160) per passenger on international flights and ksh 50 on domestic flights.
Considering that four million passengers pass through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) annually, the authority will collect at least ksh 600-million from the new charges per year.
KCAA also wants to increase the commercial pilots license fee from ksh 2700 to ksh4500 and a student pilots license from ksh500 to ksh1000 .Fees for various examinations that trainee pilots must sit for will also increase, some by far more than 200 percent .For instance, trainees for a Private Pilots License (PPL) would have to part with ksh 15000 up from ksh 2000.
The new regulations give KCAA the powers to detain any aircraft if the owner refuses or fails to pay the new charges and payment of the owed amount, with interest computed at a compound rate of two percent per month.
However, according to Col. (Rtd) Waithakas team, although the authority desperately needs to find ways to raise revenue, it is imprudent to target only a small section of the local aviation industry, while hundreds of international airlines fly over Kenyan airspace for free. The authority is also being accused of having failed to tap into the retinue of associated players like fuel suppliers and food caterers that form part of the wider aviation family.
Under the current charges that were last reviewed in 1998; the authority collects ksh124-million annually from the aviation industry, an amount that it considers insufficient. The annual budget of KCAA is ksh2, 8-billion and it does not receive any funding from the Ministry of Finance.
In October 2010 edition of World Airnews, Aero Club of East Africa chairman, Capt Chris Hardisty, complained that industry regulators had “become monsters who suffocated operators through stiff fees and charges.”
KCAA has repeatedly been put under scrutiny, and in particular repeated accusations that it has failed to set standards for operators of light aircraft in the country, but now the authority thinks it is time to act and implement the new charges to enable it to discharge its mandate effectively.
Meanwhile, the KCAA has presented a report to Transport Permanent Secretary, Cyrus Njiru, for review before the new charges can be enforced. The current KCAA Director General is Hilary Kioko.
Airport Blueprint for the Environment
Speaking At the opening session of the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva recently, Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World, called on airports and their aviation partners to broaden their vision and action plan in order to be more responsive to the communities that they serve.
Gittens emphasized the role airports could and did play in advancing a blueprint for sustainable aviation.”It certainly includes the reduction of carbon emissions, but it is much broader because of the essential nature of airports.An,airport, no matter how big or how international in service reach, is a member of a local community and a neighbor,” she said.”So our blueprint requires balancing the diverse demands of our local communities. Every voyage starts and stops with us, and makes the airport the symbol of aviation within each of the thousands of communities we serve worldwide.”
Gittens stressed that investments in environmentally sound solutions for each of these priorities were strategic business choices made in a field of many alternatives.
The ability to define, measure and mitigate in an effective way guided an airport in those choices for sustainable airport infrastructure
Anthony Juma is the Editor and Senior Aviation Director at Wings over Africa Aviation.
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