European Union revokes KQ aircraft maintenance license


European Union revokes KQ aircraft maintenance license

A Kenya Airways plane at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has revoked a license it granted to Kenya Airways (KQ) to service UK-registered planes after it failed a compliance audit.

The national carrier said the agency withdrew the license because, during the certification audit, the agency asked KQ to segregate part of its general storage and have a temperature screening device complies with European standards.

EASA is a certification and regulatory body that covers airlines that operate in Europe and those that want to do maintenance for European registered carriers.

It carries out certification, regulation and standardization and also carries out surveys and controls.

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“As you may know, we are in the tropics and our manuals don’t require us to have temperature checks like those in Europe where there are extremes,” KQ technical director Gilbert Bett said. business daily Friday.

“We are working on compliance though.”

Kenya Airways had applied for EASA certification (EASA Part 145 requirements for Part 145 maintenance) as part of the strategic growth of maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) as well as from the perspective of maintenance and maintenance of aircraft registered in Europe.

EASA is one of the certification bodies KQ works with. The primary regulator of the national carrier is the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

KQ has always complied with EASA and all certification requirements of other regulatory and certification bodies.

“Compliance is our license to operate. That’s why we worked with EASA. Servicing and maintenance of carriers registered in Europe is part of our MRO. »

The revocation of the license will deprive KQ of revenue in aircraft maintenance for airlines registered in the European Union.

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The carrier said it has no aircraft under maintenance that require EASA certification.

“There is no loss of revenue as there are no aircraft under maintenance that require EASA certification. We have no European registered aircraft under maintenance,” Mr Bett said.

The carrier has diversified into new revenue streams to shore up its revenue, which stood at 70.22 billion shillings for the year ended December, partly thanks to alternative sources such as charter services air.

For example, in 2021 the national carrier reached an agreement with lessors to only pay when they fly leased planes following the grounding of its services on the back of Covid-19, which saw the planes sit idle. .

The plan saved the carrier $45 million (4.7 billion shillings) in fees after changing the lease terms of its aircraft fleet, opting for hourly rates instead of fixed costs.

Aircraft grounded

However, two backers in April objected to their new payment terms, a move that saw them ground their planes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

The new deal saw the cost of maintaining its fleet drop from Sh28.5 billion in 2020 to Sh16.6 billion last year.

The carrier reduced its net loss for the year ended December by 56.58% on higher revenues as travel resumed as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

KQ reported a net loss of 15.8 billion shillings in the reporting period, compared to a net loss of 36.2 billion shillings the previous year, when travel restrictions hit operations hardest, including by immobilizing its planes for months.

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