KENYA CIVIL AVIATION REGULATIONS BEGIN TO BITE
Three months after the new Kenya
Civil Aviation Regulations were bulldozed over the objections of the Stakeholders,
the first cracks appear in their implementation. Stakeholders' fears are
being vindicated as hapless KCAA staff are overwhelmed trying to enforce
the overly detailed and disorganized KCARS. Formerly routine paperwork
is now being subjected to in depth scrutiny and unnecessary red tape as
overburdened inspectors and employees are trying to adhere to performance
contracts and make no mistakes. As warned by the stakeholders, the micro-control
mechanisms that have been imposed on Kenyan aviation with 1400 pages of
rules and penalties are leading to a paperknot. All aspects of aviation
in Kenya have been
KCAA staff who are burdened with implementing the regulations have resorted to the "CYA principle" and are interpreting every rule and definition to the letter, avoiding any semblance of lateral thinking. As a result, even the most routine applications for any sort of licence, permit or unusual aviation activity are being shunted around from department to department since now several sections of KCAA must give their OK before a piece of paper is granted. The wheel is being re-invented on routine matters that had been in force in Kenya for many years. Operators and pilots are unanimous that the bureaucracy created by KCAA is not only unnecessary, but fundamentally fallacious and counter-productive. And that in a day and age where many formal organizations like FAA and the EASA are offering rewards to those who point out ways to reduce paperwork. Unfortunately, the Kenyans fell into the same trap that slowed down economic growth of countries like India and Egypt for a hundred years, before leaders from those countries realized that "micro-control" of all human activities is counter-productive and hinders development. India, China, Egypt, Russia and many other countries in which centralized control was practiced before, have all relaxed their systems and are now experiencing above average economic growth. Kenya is "on the other bus" as their bureaucrats think they are smart enough to be able to foresee all eventualities and have a rule in place for everything.
Kenyan aviation stakeholders have gone to the High Court over the KCARS, pointing out that operators and pilots are not "against Regulations per se" but that the regulations must be reasonable and not damage their livelihood and injure the economy. KCAA , in its defence, keeps pointing to the ICAO as a culprit, saying that Kenya must adhere to international regulations. Stakeholders have pointed out many times that ICAO Regulations are intended to guide primarily international commercial aviation, and domestic operations for commercial aircraft weighing more than 5700 kg AUW. Yet, KCAA applies the stringent regulations intended for airliners to even the smallest airplane or airfield.
For the last three years, air operators had objected to the KCAR proposals, pointing out that they will lead to bureaucratic "Gridlock". KCAA staff are blaming their current difficulties on "teething problems". Further, in a bout of chauvinism, some KCAA seniors are also quoted as saying that "only the (expletive deleted) from the Aero Club are complaining". Talk about being out of touch. Stakeholders maintain that to enforce the new Regulations as written, an army of KCAA inspectors will have to be engaged and trained. They contend that these inspectors will have to be paid by the stakeholders who did not ask for the KCARS and on whom they were imposed with only 'token' consultation. (See next story).
KCAA EXPLORES NEW SYSTEM OF CHARGING NAVIGATION FEES
In view of the story above, it is
perhaps not a coincidence that KCAA on 28 October unveiled a proposal
to revise the system of charging Air Navigation Fees. KCAA needs money,
that is clear, and it needs it because it is operated on a so-called `cost
recovery basis`, without an upper limit or any accountability to those
who have to pay. This was not new as the KCAA had already attempted to
introduce more fees in 2002 and again in 2007. The new ANS system, derived
from the ICAO method of charging in accordance with a complex formula
based on aircraft weight and distance flown by the aircraft in the FIR,
is considered more fair than the present method of collection in which
only those who fly into or out of an airport with a control tower and
AIS office are charged. Aircraft flying into or out of unmanned aerodromes
essentially pay no Nav Fees because there is no way for KCAA to collect.
Of course, this also brings up the issue of "Navigation
The KCAA proposal unveiled at the
Workshop contains a special `Deal` for aircraft weighing less than 2500
kg. Such smaller, mostly "private" aircraft would be subjected
to a yearly fee of KShs. 50,000 rather than the
Tanzania introduced the weight and
distance formula in July 2007, but in a discriminatory fashion: it only
applies to `foreign-registered aircraft`. That, of course, is contrary
to ICAO SARPS. It also led to countless
Under the new KCAA proposals, aircraft above an AUW of 2500 kg would be charged in accordance with the weight-distance formula and it is not clear how payment would be enforced on aircraft flying between unmanned airports where collection points are not in position, unless of course KCAA or KRA places an employee at every one of 650 airfields in Kenya. That it has promised to do in its new KCAR Security Regulations which stipulate that ALL airfields must have a Manager, Security Manager, etc.
Those who require a copy of the KCAA Proposals (as a pdf file), please contact the Chairman, Aero Club of East Africa.
IAOPA PUBLISHES ARTICLE ABOUT KENYA
The October Newsletter of the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (IAOPA) contains a lead article entitled `KENYAN AVIATION: A HARBINGER OF THINGS TO COME`. The article has stirred considerable interest as other nations have taken note of the slippery downhill slide that Kenya has chosen in dealing with its civil aviation. Many messages of concern and condolence, as well as requests for additional information, were received by the Aero Club from several countries. IAOPA has 67 member nations.
NO RELIEF ON AVGAS PRICE
Notwithstanding the fact that the price of oil has dropped to around $ 60 - 70 per barrel (down from $ 150 or so) the price of Avgas in Kenya remains at around Shs. 140 ($ 2) per litre at the pumps. It had been hoped that once the latest Avgas shipment was on the market, the price would drop in proportion to the cost of oil. That has not happened. Only JET A-1 prices have dropped in Kenya.
The gurus of FAA Knowledge Test
Courses, John and Martha King of `King Schools`, who are also known to
many Kenyan pilots, will be at the Aero Club of East Africa on the evening
of 11 February 2009. It will be an
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE HOLDS AVIATION EXHIBITION
The Alliance Francaise (French Cultural
Centre) is hosting an interactive educational exhibition on aircraft during
November 2008. Focus is on scientific and technical progress in aeronautics,
from the great men to the great moments that have marked its history.
The exhibition has been realized with the support of AIRBUS. Through simulators,
the visitors will be exposed to first-hand experience behind the controls
and behind the
Aero-News is published as a service to Members of the Aero Club of East Africa, to keep them informed about aviation in East Africa. Contributions are welcome. If you have some comments or suggestions, do not wish to receive this newsletter, or if you want to be added to the mailing list, please send a message to Harro V. Trempenau, Chairman, Aero Club of East Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org