Kenya’s domestic travel recovering quicker than int’l, says Kibe, DG KCAA

The Director-General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Captain Gilbert Kibe has said that aviation contributes four per cent to his country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), just as he stated that domestic air travel is seeing quicker recovery than international operations.

Kibe who disclosed this at a webinar hosted by President, African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), Nick Fadugba monitored by Aviation Metric noted that the country had already started seeing over 400 daily aircraft movements and had already reached 50 per cent of flight movement compared to 2019.

His words, “If we look at the aviation industry in Kenya, we have 1600 aircraft in our register. Nine hundred are in operation, the majority are in private hands; that is for those in General Aviation. Business aviation is not as significant as General Aviation (GA). Business aviation is smaller than General aviation”.

“Aviation in Kenya contributes four per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Domestic aviation will recover faster than international air travel. We have already seen 400 aircraft movements and we are at 50 per cent of where we were in 2019. Over 70, 000 people are employed directly by the sector and another 40, 000 are indirectly employed. It is very significant”.

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Speaking on bailout for airlines in the country, Kibe admitted that Kenya does not have the funds to support struggling airlines, but stated that what the country lacks in terms of financial assistance, he made up by giving them tax exemption, aircraft parts duty removal, removal of taxes on fuel.

He lamented that high airport taxes imposed by governments in Africa had done incalculable damage to a sector that requires urgent rescue.

 

Director-General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Capt. Gilber Kibe

He further disclosed that the airport which stands at $50 per passenger, just as he urged governments in the continent to reduce taxes on domestic flights to engender quick recovery.

He lamented that the cost of air travel is exacerbated by the high cost of government taxes to encourage more people to take leisure travel.

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The KCAA chief backed the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and act as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda.

SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic and political integration and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result. The SAATM was created to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.

Although it is still going at snail speed, not a few believe that the full implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) by all countries in Africa could reap enormous economic benefits. Africa has a huge population and a vast land mass, the potential of the enormous benefits the continent possess has not been fully tapped.

While 36 African nations have signed the solemn commitment to SAATM, only three according to Kibe have implemented it fully. Countries that have begun the full implementation are Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

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Nigeria appears among countries of 36 nations that shown serious commitment to implementing the flagship project of the African Union

 

President, African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), Nick Fadugba

Countries that have signed up to SAATM include Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Bissau), Guinée.

Others are Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Chad, Togo and Zimbabwe.

SAATM is expected to ensure that aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic and political integration and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result.

Wole Shadare