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EDITORIAL: Enforce air safety rules

by kenya-tribune

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Several fatal light aircraft crashes in the recent past have raised concern about the safety of Kenya’s airspace and could have serious repercussions on the high-end segment of the tourism industry.

The latest is a crash on an island in Lake Turkana, in which four American tourists and their Kenya pilot died.

Of particular concern is that the accident occurred at night. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has confirmed that the plane went down at 8.35pm.

That was a blatant violation of a key regulation prohibiting the flying of helicopters at night. Investigators will, of course, be keen to establish why the rule was not followed.

Last month, another Kenyan pilot and his four passengers were killed in a crash in western Kenya.

And, perhaps, the worst case was the incident in which a light aircraft crashed into the Aberdare Ranges late last year, killing the two Kenyan pilots and their eight passengers.

The spate of fatal crashes involving light aircraft and foreign tourists calls for serious attention.

Although the number of incidents and casualties may be relatively small, and Kenya is still considered to have one of the best safety records in Africa, there is a need to take concrete measures to prevent further crashes.

A recurrence of such incidents is likely to send the wrong signal to the world, especially would-be tourists, that Kenya is an unsafe destination, and cost the country a lot in lost tourism revenues.

The onus is on the KCAA to ensure that all operators and their pilots and other employees strictly adhere to safety regulations.

There is great potential in the commercial aviation industry, which can be tapped if rules and regulations are enforced to enhance safety in the skies.

The aviation regulator should keep our airspace safe.

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