The government has backtracked on its plans to have Kenya Airways (KQ) take over operations of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Transport Committee, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that the government was exploring other ways of rejuvenating cash strapped KQ.
“Following concerns that have been raised by the public, we are now exploring other opinions of delivering the objectives of the government to consolidate our aviation sector. Once an agreed option has been identified we will submit the same to the Cabinet for approval as directed by it,” said Macharia.
This follows a public outcry against the proposed takeover, that was planned for a concession period of 30 years.
A report tabled in parliament three weeks ago revealed that KQ and JKIA did not involve the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), who are the custodians of all airports and airstrips in Kenya.
In the audit report, the office of the auditor general says that it was not furnished with important documents in the highly criticised takeover deal.
“There is no evidence that KAA ever prepared and submitted any proposal to the board. We have not been presented with a feasibility study which could have informed the joint cabinet memo meeting,” said Ouko.
“In fact there is no evidence of any intervening exchange by KAA when the Transport PS communicated the decision of the cabinet until October 18, 2018 when the special board of directors was presented with information”.
The Privately Initiated Investment Proposal (PIIP) was not supposed to be made public until the Public Investment Committee in parliament stumbled on the deal while going through financial accoounts of KAA, subsequently ‘leaking’ it to the public.
The committee then made a request to Ouko to do an audit to determine the viability of the deal.
The takeover has caused jitters within stakeholders, pushing the Kenya Aviation Workers to go on strike disrupting activities at JKIA. As a result, several flights were cancelled leaving passengers stranded forcing the Airforce and the National Youth Services to come in and provide the services.