Following a 5 days of meetings in Kampala last week did ICAO move on to Kenyas capital Nairobi, where another series of seminars, workshops and interaction with regulators and the private sector is underway.
On Monday was one long awaited piece of the puzzle, how to improve aviation safety on the continent of Africa, launched when in the presence of ICAO Secretary General Mr. Raymond Benjamin the new Africa wide training organization association was formally baptized.
Said a senior staff of KCAA met during last weeks launch of the Kenya Airways share rights issue, when asked directly, though on condition of not being named for not being an official spokesperson: All over Africa we have a serious problem with getting more pilots. It is a bigger problem even in countries where aviation is growing at a fast rate, like here in Kenya, in East Africa. We do not have enough capacity yet to produce more ATPL license holders. When we launch the new association on Monday it is meant to inject quality criteria, set standards and promote the creation of government owned and private owned aviation academies. You in Uganda have the Soroti school but even there it is underfacilitation which constraints the output of pilots and engineers. Those are two critical areas. Kenya Airways now has their Pride Academy and simulators which helps in training but for most they send pilot student trainees abroad until they are ready. I think here we need to see the long term savings and job creation for East Africans when we say we must have more such aviation schools here in our part of Africa. Aviation grows almost faster than many other sectors and we can produce highly skilled individuals who can work anywhere in the world. And when you look at it, skilled manpower in engineering, which these schools also teach, attracts international manufacturers to consider putting up some significant MROs (maintenance and repair organizations) here in East Africa but so far they go to South Africa or North Africa for lack of enough homegrown and qualified personnel..
At the same function it was also mentioned by the Chairman of Kenya Airways Evanson Mwaniki that the airline has sought permission from the authorities to recruit captains from abroad to have enough crews for their growing fleet, until young Kenyans have acquired the skills and experience needed to step up and get their four stripes.