Kenya Association of Air Operators has written to parliament to oppose the proposed KQ & KAA Merger law the government has introduced.
There is a new plan to merge Kenya Airways (KQ) and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) under the National Aviation Management Bill, 2020. There was a previous proposal to merge the two entities under the Kenya Aviation Management Bill, 2020 which was faced headwinds from stakeholders and was eventually shelved.
In an open letter to Parliament, Mr. Fredrick Opot who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kenya Association of Air Operators, said that the government was being disingenuous by bringing through the back door proposals that industry players had resoundingly rejected and termed as anti-competition in 2019.
”The forerunner to this proposed Bill was the unexpected announcement in 2019 by Kenya Airways Board proposing to merge its struggling operations with those of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as a panacea to its financial loses” said Mr. Opot adding that “What is more troubling is that we as industry players have not been given an opportunity to make our views known and have a meaningful debate with the proposers of the Bill.”
He said that merging of operations of Kenya Airports Authority with one Operator – Kenya Airways – raises serious concerns in the management and operations of airports in the country. According to him, this would create serious conflict of interest issues as regards KAA which is supposed to be independent to provide equal services and opportunity to other operators using the national facilities.
Other proposals in the Bill include the establishment of a National Aviation Council which will be made up of top civil servants, the Kenya Airforce Commander and chaired by the President.
“The establishment of a major entity such as a National Aviation Council would by itself require a separate Bill which will state clearly the functions of the Council in relation to the existing body governing the management of the Kenyan airspace, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority”, said Mr. Opot.