Kenya to revamp its aviation industry

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Kenyan Transport and Communications Ministry Friday announced plans to revamp the country's aviation industry to promote inter-African transportation.
Key among expected changes is the immediate de-linking from the civil service of the country's Directorate of Civil Aviation, which will now be run by a Civil Aviation Authority.
Other measures include the review and modernisation of the Civil Aviation Policy and an ambitious programme to develop Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) into a premier hub for Eastern and Central African region.
Transport and Communications Minister, Musalia Mudavadi, said the measures will facilitate the flow of goods and services, thereby stimulating regional trade and promotion of peace through cultural exchange.
Mudavadi made the announcement in Nairobi to stakeholders in the aviation industry, who were to discuss the new proposals.
The meeting brought together major players in the industry including representatives of Regional and International Airlines, Association of Air Operators, the Meteorological Department, and the Kenyan Parliamentary Communications Committee.
The Minister said Kenya would continue to support the liberalisation of the air transport industry, while actively involved in regional and international air transport.
To this end, Mudavadi said the government would spend more than one billion Kenya shillings to upgrade civil aviation equipment and the calibre of the management and operational staff.
"This policy is aimed at simplifying any complex and cumbersome policies and regulations in order to encourage greater private sector participation in management and investment," Mudavadi observed.
He called for "multi-sectoral efforts" to further develop the country's three international airports as "air transport hubs" for the region so as to maintain a competitive edge.
Mudavadi described air transport as the primary mode of transport for tourism and the export of horticultural and other goods besides sustainability of human relief endeavours.
He said the transformation of Kenya's Directorate of Civil Aviation into a Civil Aviation Authority would help improve the operational efficiency of the body.
It would also ensure prudent financial management, while its policies and regulations will encourage greater private sector participation in management and investment, the Minister said.
The announcement brings ends a five-year battle of nerves between workers at the Directorate of Civil Aviation and the authorities, with the workers always demanding autonomy from the civil service.
A near confrontation occurred in May, when the workers threatened to down tools from 1 June to press the government to effect the changes.
An industrial action was averted after negotiation.

06 july 2001 15:57:00

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