Local carrier Silverstone Air risks losing its Dash-8 planes over breach of its aircraft leasing contract that has now forced its lessor to issue a notice of recovery, Kahawa Tungu has learnt.
Reports indicate that the firm identified as Elix Aviation Capital is targeting to recover a fleet of eight aircraft that Silverstone has been using to keep afloat.
A source familiar with the developments intimated to the Star that the airline has been in a back and forth with the owners of the fleet for some time now.
“The lessors are coming for the Dash-8. Apparently they’re in a tussle with them due breach of some contracts, ” said the source, who sought anonymity.
Elix Aviation Capital, a firm based in Ireland, is managed by Oaktree Capital Management.
The reports come weeks after the troubled carrier sent home at least 17 pilots and crew over a move by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to ground its Dash-8 fleet following incidents involving its aircraft.
In redundancy notice, Silverstone’s management stated that the move had adversely affected the company’s revenue.
“This has resulted in irreparable damage to the company’s brand equity as evidenced by mass cancellations of tickets. The company cannot, therefore, continue to operate commercially. We assure you that the step the company has taken has no relation to matters of your individual productivity, ” said Silverstone.
The suspension has since been lifted but the airline is yet to resume its operations in the country.
“KCAA confirms that the Airline has provided satisfactory corrective measures as per the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2018, following comprehensive compliance audits on the operations and procedures of Silverstone Air Services conducted between 24th October and 15th November 2019,” KCAA said in a statement while clearing the airline.
Silverstone flew from Wilson Airport to Kisumu, Mombasa, Lamu, Eldoret, Malindi, Lodwar and Ukunda.
Reports indicate that only seven pilots and 11 cabin crew members have been left at Silverstone.
A majority of pilots, cabin crew members and engineers who were fired are said to have been hired by rival airlines, with Safarilink absorbing the highest number.
A pilot at Silverstone intimated to the local news outlet that some of the staff who were fired are yet to receive their dues by end of November.