MPs demand probe in aircraft safety

Friday, November 1st, 2019 20:58 |
Parliament in session. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

The National Assembly Transport committee wants a comprehensive probe undertaken on the safety of aircraft operating in the country following several mishaps witnessed recently.

In a sitting held Friday, the team, led by Pokot South MP David Pkosing raised concern over air travel safety in the country, even as they claimed the  Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director general Gilbert Kibe was stopped by some powerful forces from appearing before them as scheduled.

“The KCAA boss had confirmed he would attend this seating but he is the only one who can explain what happened,” said Pkosing.

The committee said KCAA officials should resign if they do not explain recent aircraft accidents in 12 days. The lawmakers invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Silverstone, whose operations “are seemingly unclear”.

Only Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) acting managing director Alex Gitari appeared before the committee on Friday but KCAA and Silverstone management snubbed the invite.

The committee has since summoned KCAA and Silverstone bosses as well as the Ministry of Transport officials to appear before them on November 12.

Pkosing warned that business interests should not blind relevant authorities from addressing arising key issues in air travel.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula demanded to know what KCAA has done following air accidents reported since January last year. He cited 25 air mishaps including tyre bursts, landing gear problems, wheel disconnection, engine shut down and object impact.

“KCAA, we have had a total of 25 air accidents from January last year to date, where have you been? I tabled a report and said that you should take your job seriously,” said Savula.

However, some MPs dismissed Savula's report since it had left out Silverstone air company in the list of cited mishaps.

West Mugirango MP Vincent Kemosi said the report was not conclusive since Silverstone was not in the list, adding that “the management is being protected from appearing before the committee”.

“Silverstone should be subjected to investigations. It is like the committee is being controlled from elsewhere. It is a criminal offence for anyone to canvass not to appear before the committee,” he said.

On October 11, a Silverstone airplane crashed on the runway at Wilson Airport. The plane had five crew members and 50 passengers on board, two of whom were injured during the crash.

And this week, a Silverstone plane's tyre fell off forcing the pilot to land at the Eldoret airport.

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