BILL RUNS INTO MORE HEADWINDS

KQ, KAA call for amendments to nationalisation plan

Agencies want anybody convicted barred from management offices

In Summary

• Bill now subject of second round of public participation.

•KAA, KQ say proposed Bill has elements of clashing roles. 

JKIA arrivals and departure terminal. /FILE
JKIA arrivals and departure terminal. /FILE

 

Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority have sought amendments to the National Aviation Management Bill, 2020, saying the changes will ensure better management of the proposed nationalisation of the carrier.

The Bill establishes a Kenya Aviation Corporation made up of KQ, KAA and the Aviation Investment Corporation.

The Law Society of Kenya wants MPs to reject the proposal in its entirety.

The lawyers hold that it is unreasonable to merge the struggling national carrier with the "somewhat" profitable KAA.

"The National Assembly should apply its legislative authority to reject and vote out the Bill if not withdrawn," LSK chair Nelson Havi said in a statement.

Last Thursday, Speaker Justin Muturi directed further public participation be conducted on the Bill envisioned to consolidate aviation assets for competitive advantage in the region.

There are concerns the Bill as approved by the Transport committee would cost taxpayers trillions in loss of aviation assets.

KAA and KQ thus want clarity in the definition of user charges beyond the generalisation in fees, rates, levies, and charges as provided in the Bill.

They also want the proposed Kenya Aviation Corporation board given latitude in determining applicable rates for non-aeronautical user charges.

The entities also want the chairperson of the board to be a member of the proposed National Aviation Council to be chaired by the President.

KAA and KQ also want the minimum qualification for CEO and managing directors to be a bachelor's degree with master's only as an added advantage.

The entities have also differed with the proposal that only persons with convictions of more than six months to be barred from the respective offices.

“Any conviction reflects on the character of a board member in breach of Chapter Six of the Constitution,” the entities said in their memorandum to the Transport Committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing.

They also want the proposal that the board grants permission to members who skip meetings and the responsibility handed to the board chairman changed.

KAA and KQ also don’t want board members to authenticate the common seal but for the same to be by the CEO and corporation secretary signatures.

The two also want the proposed KAA denied the powers to approve erection or modification of buildings deemed to interfere with operation.

KQ acting CEO Patrick Kivaluka also asked MPs to provide that aircraft overhaul be the function of the Aviation Investment Corporation.

He also proposed that the operating of bank accounts to be approved by the board and Treasury CS for transparency.

Kenya Airports Authority MD Alex Gitari wants MPs to include Interior PS as member of Kenya Aviation Corporation board.

Attorney General, CSs National Treasury and Transport, corporation CEO, managing directors of Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority, and four independent non-executive appointees of the Transport CS are members.

MPs want managing director of the Aviation Investment Company and a representative of private air operators also included.

“The group managing directors should be executive members of the board with no powers to vote,” the Transport committee said.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) also poked holes on the Bill, saying the proposed agency should be denied powers to promote the development of the aviation sector.

“The responsibility rests with KCAA board to advise Transport CS on development and maintenance of civil aviation policy framework,” MD Gilbert Kibe told MPs.

The aviation regulator wants the KAA denied powers to regulate use of facilities as proposed in the new arrangement.

“KCAA is mandated to regulate the entire aviation industry in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation Standards,” his memorandum to the Transport committee reads.

The Association of Air Operators want the development of JKIA as an international hub made a core guiding principle of the new dispensation.

These are among the issues that the Pkosing-led committee would be looking into in the extended period for public participation on the Bill.

The committee has proposed to define user charges to include aircraft landing, parking and hangar charges, charges related to security, noise, aircraft emissions as well as fuel and cargo concession fees.

Pkosing team has recommended that KCAA be part of the corporation board. They also want the corporation barred from regulating the aviation industry.

MPs also proposed that 25 per cent of proceeds from passenger service charge be used in the development and management of airstrips.

Very few county headquarters are served with airstrips while some have airstrips of murram and grass, hence can’t handle even light aircraft.