The Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) hosted the Cabinet Secretary State Department of Transport and Roads Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen and Permanent Secretary Mohammed Daghar to deliberate on improving partnership between Government and the private sector.

The meeting agreed on the need for industry input in major policy decisions affecting the sector. This includes involvement of the association in development of the National Aviation Policy which is set to set the tone for Kenya as an integrated aviation hub to cater for all operators in the region.

“The aviation industry has immense potential which, if exhaustively harnessed, will make Kenya an aviation hub and a force in the global market. We particularly recognize the important role the aviation sector plays in the tourism and horticulture sectors hence the need for an all stakeholder led approach in policy making and infrastructure development prioritization,” CS Murkomen said in response to issues raised by KAAO.

KAAO also reiterated that the increasing number of taxes are negatively impacting the aviation sector in Kenya. According to KAAO Chief Executive Officer Liz Aluvanze such measures was making the local industry uncompetitive and unsustainable amid a surge in global and regional competition.

“This has led to a worrying decline in the development and growth of the sector resulting in job losses, migration of maintenance activities to neighbouring states, decline of Kenya as a regional hub and overall decrease in revenue for the operators and government.”

KAAO also proposed that the government should prioritise the development of strategic airports and aerodromes based on demand and revenue generation channels to make them sustainable. The industry lobby group also called for improvement of infrastructure in airports around the country. This includes expansion of runways to ease congestion, new terminal buildings, reconstruction of pavements and aeronautical ground lighting and development of parking silos and business parks. KAAO says this will help secure existing business and enable them to grow further.