AVIATION

Silverstone on the verge of collapse, closing Kenya operations

The airline is yet to resume operations months since the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority temporarily suspended it following a series of mishaps.

In Summary

•The company has sent home 17 pilots (eight captains and nine First Officers) and crew staff. Its engineers were also fired.

•The carrier has opted to wet lease its fleet to Somalia local airlines–Salaam Air, Som Air and Maandeeq Air.

The Silverstone aircraft whose wheel came off on Monday, October 28, 2019.
The Silverstone aircraft whose wheel came off on Monday, October 28, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

Domestic low cost carrier Silverstone is on the brink of collapse two months after suspending passenger flight services.

The airline is yet to resume operations since November 12, when the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority(KCAA) temporarily suspended it following a series of mishaps.

Following the KCAA's decision to suspend our Dash 8 fleet, we are temporarily suspending all scheduled services,” Silverstone Air management said on November 12.

 

A week later, the airline issued a one month redundancy notice to its staff.

Silverstone Air Services Limited has become redundant. This decision has been made as a result of the recent decision by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to ground the company’s fleet, thereby grounding our passenger services,” the letter by management read.

This, it said, has resulted in irreparable damage to the company’s brand equity as evidenced by mass cancellations of tickets.

It sad the move had greatly affected its commercial operations.

The company sent home 17 pilots (eight captains and nine First Officers) and crew staff. Its engineers were also fired.

Only seven pilots have been left at Silverstone. All the rest were declared redundant,” a former pilot at the airline, who sought anonymity, told the Star yesterday.

Its troubles however escalated in December when the lessor of its Dash-8 aircrafts commenced a recovered some of the planes. According to insiders, Silverstone has already lost three of the eight aircrafts.

Dublin-Ireland based Elix Aviation Capital has been keen to recover the Dash 8 fleet used by Silverstone. 

 

Since ceasing operations, they have been in a tussle with them due to breach of contract,” a source familiar with the airline's operations told the Star yesterday.

The carrier had opted to wet lease its fleet to Somalia local airlinesSalaam Air, Som Air and Maandeeq Air.

It has remained with 11 cabin crew, the Star has established. Some of the fired pilots have been absorbed by Safarilink.

“Cargo services are being served by the remaining Focker 50 planes which were part of the 11 aircrafts,” a source within the airline said.

Last month, the carrier flew seven pilots to Malaysia to train them on the Focker 50.

Though KCAA lifted the ban on November 19 , the carrier is yet to resume business, an indicator it could have equally closed shop in Kenya.

The regulator said the airline had provided satisfactory corrective measures as per the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2018.

"KCAA will continue to undertake its continuous surveillance on the operator as they resume normal operations for the Dash 8 series aircraft,” KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe had said.

Silverstone came under scrutiny after its aircraft crashed at Wilson Airport on October 11, which was followed by the falling-off of rear wheels of the airline's aircraft when it was taking off from Lodwar Airstrip on October 28.