Home' Travel News : April - May 2019 Contents 36 I travel news kenya april - may 2019
april - may 2019 travel news kenya I 37
As an airline veteran, I’m always saddened
when an aircraft accident is reported. More
so in the case of the Ethiopian Airlines
Boeing 737 Max 8, shortly after take-
off from Addis Ababa en-route to Nairobi
almost four weeks ago.
One hundred and fifty-seven kind souls
perished. Among them the great and the
good, families with children and just plain
ordinary folk – be they students coming
home to visit family or those attending a
UN conference here in Nairobi.
The news of the accident was bad enough,
but then to learn that a young man who I
knew was among the passengers sent a
cold shiver down my spine. I was visibly
Jonathan Seex the CEO of the Tamarind
Group and son of its founder was returning
home from a ski trip in Italy. I had met him
on his return to Kenya a number of years
ago, with his French wife Nadege and their
three young children. Jonathan, having
made a name for himself in the glitzy world
of Sol Kerzner’s Sun International hotel
group in the Bahamas.
Here was a young man with the world at
his feet, dynamic, softly spoken, and a
man who lived his dream and made things
happen. The future was his.
Jonathan had so much going for him, and
had successfully moved his company in a
host of new exciting directions.
To his family, his friends, the Tamarind
Group and all who knew Jonathan, my
Gone to soon, never more apt.
I’ve followed rather closely all the wire
chatter about the perceived problems
experienced by the Boeing 737 Max 8 in
both this accident and the one in Indonesia.
The Ethernet is full of story lines based on
‘leaked’ factoids that don’t have sufficient
or appropriate context.
According to the International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO) under
annex 13, Ethiopia is the state where
the accident occurred, thus they are the
lead investigative authority. US sources
say no official information regarding the
data that was retrieved from the cockpit
voice recorder and flight data recorder
has been made available and that the
Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that
had previously certified the aircraft type,
and the National Transport Safety Board
(NTSB) and Boeing were concerned at
not being provided with ‘all’ the data.
I have every faith that the Ethiopian CAA
can and will handle this investigation to a
high degree of competency and that all
parties will be enjoined as the investigation
Turf wars have no place here.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 had been ordered
by many, many of the world’s airlines –
over 5,000 ordered to date, and that is
an awful lot in airplane speak. It promised
a greater economy of scale than any of
its competitors, it was lighter, more fuel
efficient, and carried more passengers –
but it was late to market. Its competitor the
Airbus 320neo flew long before the Max
8, because of Boeings tried and tested
certification process. Global media had
falsely reported that Boeing rushed the
Max 8 into production hence the perceived
problems in both accidents.
At the time of the Ethiopian accident
over 300 Max 8’s were already in service
around the world, and in the main had no
problems – there were isolated issues
with the auto-pilot also known as the
manoeuvring characteristics augmentation
system (MCAS) which were all dealt with
in-cockpit by flight deck crew.
I have an opinion, but would rather park
it, until such time as the preliminary report
is published by the Ethiopian authorities.
Stop Press Which has now been released
effectively exonerating the pilots.
British Airways this year celebrates its
100th anniversary, and to mark this lofty
occasion they have retro-painted some of
their aircraft in liveries of old. A nice touch
don’t you think? (See page 8)
We’ll be seeing these 747’s on the Nairobi
London route, not just with new paint
jobs but new interiors as well. To include
state-of-the-art (I hate that phrase) in-flight
Word on the Kenya Airways acquisition
of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International
Airport, is that it has gone very quiet – too
quiet perhaps. Which is a worry to my way
of thinking. What goes on behind closed
doors, and not in the public domain with
a determined government could result in
almost anything – your guess as good as
But its unpopularity across the board might
sway opinion, let’s hope so.
Government wants to save the loss
making national airline and they see
this acquisition or more correctly merger
as a way of achieving this. No more
government bailouts, no more magical
turnaround strategies that never seem to
deliver, better to sell it in its entirety to the
private sector and then see how it soars.
I’m going on book leave, maybe just to
read one, or maybe to write one – not
sure, we’ll see.
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