Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cargo operator’s status at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport raises red flag

Only Kenya Airways, Siginon Freight, Swissport International, DHL and Africa Flight Services (AFS) have officially achieved all the requirements needed in order to get access to the airside.



A cargo operator has been granted access to the airside at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi under controversial circumstances, the Sunday Standard can report. The decision, we understand, may have been made in order to keep miraa exports flowing to Somalia just two weeks after an aircraft was grounded for flouting flight security rules.

The decision, we understand, may have been made in order to keep miraa exports flowing to Somalia just two weeks after an aircraft was grounded for flouting flight security rules. 

Jetways has for the last one week been flying miraa to destinations in Somalia even before the setting up of its premises at the Kenya Airfreight Handling Ltd (KAHL) centre is complete, potentially violating aviation rules. 

Our investigative team established that the company’s warehouse was yet to have a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs centre as required by law on bonded warehouses for monitoring what is going into or out of the country through the company.

When Sunday Standard sought the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority’s (KCAA) take on the issue, its director general, Gilbert Kibe, promised to respond to the issues at a later date. “Let us talk Monday morning,” he said in a text message last night.

However, following the complaints, the Sunday Standard’s Investigation’s desk set out to determine their veracity and several visits to the cargo section of Kenya’s biggest and busiest airport revealed security lapses.

Our teams witnessed truckloads of miraa arriving every day between 2am and 4am, which are then packed before being loaded to planes without screening by KRA officers.

Bonded warehouses are required by law to have KRA centres within their premises, and officers from this desk are among the few officers allowed access to the airside, according to industry insiders. This is because the airside, which is the section where planes are loaded, is considered international space.

It takes rigorous assessment by both local and international aviation regulatory bodies to get clearance to set up an airside shed. This includes getting the coveted RA3 status issued to airlines that are allowed to send cargo to European Union countries after passing security assessments.

"Air carriers that fly cargo or mail from a non-EU airport to an EU airport must ensure that all cargo and mail carried to the EU is physically screened or comes from a secure supply chain validated according to the EU regulations,” says EU aviation security validation rules.

Only Kenya Airways, Siginon Freight, Swissport International, DHL and Africa Flight Services (AFS) have officially achieved all the requirements needed in order to get access to the airside. All the other Regulated Agents (RAs), according to aviation parlance, pass their goods through these five operators. 

In spite of these strict requirements, our investigations team was able to walk with ease through Jetways’ premises and continue all the way to the company’s airside.

Its door access control systems was yet to be set up as required by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), and it had no separation for imports and exports. Yet the company has for the past five days been shipping goods out of the country. 

“Before landing obviously the control tower will ask the pilot their identity, but then, what prevents them from saying I am with the first officer alone because there is no mechanism to verify?” said a source working at the cargo centre.

KAHL, where Jetways has set up its cargo handling facility, was until July last year under full control of Kenya Airways. It is owned by KAA who in turn decide whom to rent it out to. The section of the warehouse rented out to Jetways was originally being used by KQ for their mail service. On Wednesday, Kenya Airways wrote to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) over activities at its former warehouse which the national carrier say contravene set regulations.

By the time of going to press, Kenya Airways had not responded to a series of questions we sent to them. Sunday Standard was, however, able to independently obtain a letter the airline wrote to KAA raising concerns similar to those brought to our attention earlier. 

“Control of the airside access is now in the hands of the authority, which has in turn leased it to a different entity. Consequently, our span on control as a Regulated Agent at KAHL has shrunk,” said the letter signed by Martin Kampala, the KQ security manager JKIA and cargo. 

“Note that as a registered RA3, we currently share a common border with Jetways and we have ceded control of airside access to the area under their charge. Should you have any queries pertaining to regulatory compliance for the same area, please deal directly with the new occupants,” said KQ. 

Further investigations revealed that the national carrier has now opted to put up a wall between them and Jetways, in what industry insiders said was an attempt at separating their base of operations from the new player. 

KAA has denied getting any application for the construction of a wall at the KAHL to separate Kenya Airways from Jetways. This is despite the fact that Sunday Standard had earlier obtained the approval letter by KAA not only authorising Kenya Airways to construct the wall, but also proposing modifications. 

“We have approved the construction to proceed as per the approved design with the following comments: Make the second level of the wall of a lighter material but secure and can allow for cross ventilation and light,” said the letter sent on Thursday by Dokers Chemo, the acting airport manager.

But despite all these, KAA -- which is in charge of running all the public airports in the country -- referred us to KCAA, whose officials declined to talk to us earlier, before Director General Kibe promised to engage us on Monday. “KAA allocates space to KCAA licensed and certified operators to carry out their cargo operations. The security certification is done by the regulator,” said KAA.

Original article ➤ https://www.standardmedia.co.ke

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