Ban on Kenya’s local airline lifted

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Kenya’s local low-cost carrier Silverstone could soon be back in full operations after the country’s aviation regulator lifted a suspension on part of its fleet.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) had last week suspended the carrier’s Dash- 8 fleet from flying for seven days to allow inspection after a sequence of mishaps.

The move affected eight of its 14 fleet of aircrafts which also includes Fokker and CRJ Series aircrafts.

“KCAA wishes to inform the public that the provisional suspension of the Silverstone Air Services limited Dash 8 Series Aircraft Operations imposed on November 12, 2019, has now been lifted,” Director General Gilbert Kibe said in a statement.

KCAA is the state corporation responsible for regulating the aviation industry and providing air navigation services.

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“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 October24 and November 15, 2019,” Kibe said.

The regulator however says it will continue to undertake its continuous surveillance on the operator as they resume normal operations for the Dash 8 series Aircraft effective.

All other aircraft in the fleet of Silverstone Air Services remain operational.

“The Authority in its capacity undertakes operational surveillance on the Kenyan aviation industry and reassures the public that safety and security within the Kenyan airspace is of paramount priority. We encourage you to remain vigilant in reporting all safety concerns,” Kibe said.

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Silverstone Air Services Limited, trading as Silverstone Air, is a privately owned airline in Kenya, licensed by the KCAA with an air operator’s certificate. The airline suspended all flights due to non-compliance problems.

Major incidences include the falling off of a rear tyre at a remote airstrip in Lodwar and the crash landing at Wilson Airport in Nairobi a few minutes after taking off.

The airline was facing closure following the suspension. It had already issued redundancy letters to its 17 pilots.

“Silverstone Air Services Limited has become redundant. This decision has been made as a result of the recent decision by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to ground the company’s fleet, thereby grounding our passenger services,” the letter to pilots read in part.

“This letter serves as notice of redundancy taking into account your notice period of one month as per your contract of employment. This Notice is effective November 18,” management had said in the letters.

Silverstone flies to all major destinations in the country including Ukunda( Diani), Lamu, Kisumu, Mombasa, Lodwar, Maasai Mara and Malindi with Nairobi as its central point.

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Martin Mwita is a business reporter based in Kenya. He covers equities, capital markets, trade and the East African Cooperation markets.

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