•If approved, it will cut landing and parking fees to cushion airlines and investors in the sector from the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses.
•The Kenya Airline Pilots Association(KALPA) has urged the government to support and cushion local airlines for them to compete with international airlines.
Kenya has approved the review of landing and parking fees at the country's airports.
This is to cushion the aviation industry players from sinking deeper into losses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, that has led to grounding of aircraft by commercial airlines and private institutions including flying schools.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), the regulator, has received the blessings of the transport ministry to review and submit recommendations for consideration by the government.
The moves comes after a call by the Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO), the umbrella body of air operators, on the government to consider a waiver as airlines continue to struggle with low revenues on reduced global and domestic travel.
Flying schools through the Association of African Aviation Training Organisations – Kenya Chapter (AATO – KE), have also requested that their rents with Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) be reduced by 50 per cent come January 1.
They are also seeking a harmonised fee and licensing system that can allow them to pay on an annual basis.
Transport Principal Secretary Solomon Kitungu yesterday said KAA has been tasked to look into requests by the industry players, while also considering measures that will work for the country to support the aviation sector during the pandemic.
“The request has been forwarded to Kenya Airports Authority to review and submit recommendations, if necessary, in line with the law,” Kitungu said.
He said KAA has an obligation to treat all operators fairly in terms of landing, parking and rent charges.
“Such a request would therefore require to be evaluated and aligned as necessary.The proposal for an annual parking and landing fee would also need to go through a comprehensive KAA review and necessary Ministerial approvals,” the PS told the Star yesterday.
Currently, large aircraft part with an average $25(2,772) as daily parking charges at airports while landing at a facility such as the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport costs at least $580 (Sh64,327 ) during the day and an average $700 (Sh77,647) at night.
Small aircrafts park at an average $15 (Sh1,663) per day while it costs them between $220 (Sh24,400) and $265(Sh29,391) to land, depending on the time of the day or night.
Loss-making national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) is among airlines that have been hard hit by the pandemic which has led to shrinking revenues on reduced operations.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Airline Pilots Association(KALPA) has urged the government to support and cushion local airlines for them to remain competitive during the pandemic and post-Covid recovery.
“We hope the government will give the much needed support and find some semblance of reciprocity on market share when doing business with international airlines,” KALPA General Secretary Captain Murithi Nyagah said.
The are at least 23 international airlines with weekly and daily scheduled flights to KQ's hub of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The carrier has projected it could lose up to Sh70 billion this year as the pandemic continues to affect its passenger and freight operations, with Africa estimated to lose up to $8.1 billion (about Sh898.4 billion ) in revenues this year, according to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).