KCAA DG Gilbert Kibe Questioned Over FlySax Plane Crash

  • Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Gilbert Kibe Macharia on Tuesday appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Transport with an initial report on the FlySax plane crash investigation.

    The parliamentarians fielded tough questions over the circumstances that led to the plane crash as the DG shed light on the accident.

    In response, he gave information that was not in the official report submitted making the MPs suspicious of the document he had presented particularly the decision to change the flight plan mid-air.

    "As a commercial pilot, I can change my flight plan while in the air for a particular purpose such as weather or my organization wants me to fly somewhere else. All I need to do is to inform air traffic control on my intentions.

    "The flight was diverted from Wilson to Jomo on request of the company because of the delay to drop three passengers at Jomo to catch their connecting flight and then proceed with the other seven passengers. The crew changed their flight plan and chose to fly at 11,000 feet," he told the committee.

    [caption caption="KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe Macharia"][/caption]

    Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko noted: "Information in the public is that the pilot protested that she didn't know the route unless the DG wants to tell us that all that is not true and want to come up with their own version of the story.

    "She was not familiar with the route and was promised to be guided to the last minute."

    On his part, Kibe clarified: "The news you are quoting you have seen in the media is false news - it is not factual.

    "The request was to go to Jomo, and they were informed about the runway available for use on that day. Normal routing is from Ngong Hills to Jomo but on that day the winds were favouring the opposite direction, so the normal direction is runway 06 on that day it was favouring runway 24 which is the exact opposite direction.

    "To get to 24 on an instrument flight plan, there's a place you fly to first as an initial approach fix which is Avena. It is a point on the ground where every plane using runway 24 would report to before it is directed on how it is going to land on runway 24," he conveyed.

    He added that the crew requested to fly at 11,000 feet to go directly to Avena because they knew the runway in use.

    In a rejoinder, Ms Tobiko could not hide her dismay in the information that was available to the public.

    Addressing the Chair of the committee David Psoking she stated: "Chair, I'm shocked because Kenyans have been taken through a circus all this time so I'm shocked that KCAA had kept the truth away from the public all this time.

    [caption caption="KCAA DG in session with Transport Parliamentary committee"][/caption]

    The KCAA DG responded by adding that the body had kept the information away from the public because it was still under investigation

    "The reason you are hearing about this now is because the issue is still under investigation. We do not go discussing matters under investigation in public domain. It is sensitive.

    "We did not react to reports in the media because we did not feel it was right to do so when the matter is still under investigation," he explained.

    Another MP faulted how the DG had handled the matter seemingly suspicious of the information presented.

    "Things are not adding up, there is so much that the DG want to hide and you can tell from the report, it was shoddy, it was sketchy - from further clarification is where we are getting more information. This is to tell you there was a deliberate effort to hide this information," the MP exclaimed.

    [caption caption="FlySax plane crash wreckage"][/caption]

    When pressed to answer on who advised the plane to fly at 11,000 feet despite the Aberdare ranges being higher, Kibe stated: "At this point, I request that we do not discuss the matter in front of the media. We will share with you the information but not on the public domain."