kcaa
Jubba Airways. / COURTESY

Kenyan pilots and aviation operators are blaming Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and a number of aircraft owners for the many inexperienced foreign pilots working in the country without work permits.

Jubba Airways, owned by a Somali Member of Parliament is one of the airways that has brought in foreigners, taking positions held by Kenyans. The company is said to have back in 2017 sought the expertise of a Ukrainian captain, Oleksiy Ignatyev and let go off all the Kenyan pilots.

The airways cut the employees benefits; salary payment, medical cover, risk allowances for cabin crew and pilots flying into Mogadishu.

The pilots sought KCAA Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe’s help who vowed to fight for them. He is said to have asked Senior flight operations officer Captain Reuben Njeru Murani to look into the airways.

Capt. Murani was instructed to raid the airways and plan an impromptu inspection with the police and immigration officers. But the said raid did not happen because Murani is on Jubba Airways payroll.

The Somali tycoon after learning about the raid fired two Kenyan pilots but later reinstated them as they were not at fault. He later paid the late Maj. Gen Joseph Nkaissery a visit who in return asked the nowImmigration PS Gordon Kihalangwa to issue the Ukrainian pilot with a work permit.

But what has baffled many is that the pilot was issued with a 6 months work permit without following the due process.

After the dust settled, the airways then managed to get a letter of no objection from KCAA on 7 June, 2017.

Sources privy to the information intimated that the boss recruited his nephew, Daud Osman Elmi as co-pilot; inexperienced and fresh from flying school, and his cousin Aweis Abdalla warsame – in charge of finance.

African Express, a Kenyan company, is also guilty of hiring foreigners pilots, from east Europe and South America who settle for cheap labor. The Director of flight operation is from Venezuela by the name Reuben Gamero. He is also ‘untouchable’ and is always bullying Kenyan cabin crew and co-pilots.
KCAA has been on the spot following bribery allegations where rogue students, pilots and operators bribe their way into getting their licenses approved.
Foreigners who want to convert their pilots to be able to operate in Kenya are also forced to part with bribes of between Ksh500,000 and Ksh1 million to get approval from Naomi Njambi, James Gikandi and Joseph Kang’ethe who work in the licencing deaprtment of KCAA.
The aviation operators and pilots want Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to take action as he cracks down on rogue foreigners working in the country.
In May, the CS noted that the country spends up to Ksh360 million annually on deportation of illegal immigrants; money which should be put into other important uses.
“The country loses a lot due to unpaid taxes, job opportunities going to illegal foreigners at the expense of citizens, terrorists capitalizing on this loophole to carry out their atrocious activities in the country, and expenses incurred in deportation,” he noted.
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