Inside the lucrative wars of domestic air cargo business at Wilson
Inside the lucrative wars of domestic air cargo business at Wilson Airport


When the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority revoked the Air Operators Certificates of Buff air services , Rudufu Airlines and Bush air Services in late 2017, it marked then start of strict enforced of air safety regulations in Kenya.

It also marked the beginning of a vicious business war for the lucrative air cargo business that saw up to 290,777 tonnes of cargo handled by air operators in the year 2017, according to data from the Economic Survey and Kenya Airports Authority.

The vicious war was taken to KCAA Director Gilbert Kibe’s Doorsteps with accusations geared towards arm twisting him from implementing international aviation rules as required on Kenya airspace.

The three airlines had to be delisted by KCAA for compromising aviation safety standards within Kenyan airspace by irregularly converting passenger aircraft into cargo carriers and vice versa.

It meant they could no longer enjoy the lucrative air cargo business and blamed their rivals for instigating their licence revocation.

Consequently, while the three airlines have move on and incorporated a new domestic passenger airline known as Tristar Aviation, they have refused to accept their fate as delisted cargo operators, opting instead to embark on unethical business practices including but not limited to sponsoring negative press against existing licenced operators who have adhered to KCAA’s strict licencing conditions and safety standards.

The competition for cargo business is raging amidst an ongoing battle for passengers in the domestic destinations sector which includes a price war on cheap fares, superior customer service and packages offered with hotels.

For instance, one of the fastest growing airlines at Wilson – Skyward Express – upgraded its fleet and split into two entities, one handling passengers (Skyward) and another handling cargo (Jetways).

Skyward boasts of departures that are more convenient for travellers because its flights leave from centrally located Wilson airport, at times that are convenient for business and leisure travellers alike.

Skyward Express – which is not affiliated to Silverstone Air as many have been misled to believe – also became one of the few budget airlines opened a state-of-the-art maintenance hangar which was inspected by KCAA and approved as world-class Aircraft Maintenance Organisation.

Skyward has gone further and opened a spacious lounge for its customers, complete with a cafeteria at its modern offices, where passengers can cook off as they wait for departure.

A source at Skyward told Kenya Live News that they intend to offer competitive prices, reliability, convenience coupled with superior customer service so – as to demonstrate good value for money