Tycoon politicians set to buy 40 helicopters ahead of elections – agency
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) says it expects around 40 new helicopters to be launched into the Kenyan airspace ahead of the election.
“We are expecting another 40 helicopters for the campaign period as they are the preferred mode of transport for our politicians because you can land anywhere,” KCAA director general Captain Gilbert Kibe told journalists on Wednesday.
He said currently 88 helicopters are registered with the authority, but only 60 have been certified to fly either commercially or privately.
POLITICIANS OWN HALF
Interestingly, politicians own half of the registered choppers in the country.
“Currently we have 88 helicopters, but only 60 have the certificate of air worthiness, a certification to show that they are able to fly whether privately or commercially,” Captain Kibe explained.
He said the aurhority is keen in threats posed by failure by pilots or helicopter operators to adhere to rules and regulations of air safety.
The KCAA boss warned against the rise of ‘James Bond’ phenomena during the campaign period and said that helicopter operators and pilots risk losing their licenses or being fined up to Sh1 million for safety breaches.
HANG ON CHOPPERS
Safety breaches include fitting planes with modified colours and banners or letting party supporters hang on choppers or flying at night without Instrument Fly Rule (IFR) authorisation for both pilot and helicopter operator.
“The main problem with helicopters is the James Bond types who hang on helicopter skids. This is an extremely dangerous thing that can lead to death.
“Recently we called all helicopter operators and stakeholders in helicopter aviation industry and we reminded them of the rules of helicopter operations in Kenya and warned them that if they break those rules we are going to penalize them,” he added.