Airlines battles, passengers suffering

Flight KQ 474U from Kigali International Airport to Nairobi has stopped checking-in, some body announced. Intuition

Flight KQ 474U from Kigali International Airport to Nairobi has stopped checking-in, some body announced. Intuition

The announcement meant many passengers booked on Kenya Airways (KQ) could not connect out of Kigali to their destination, probably until the next day as that was the last flight.

But Alex Mugume, Kenya Airways’ supervisor at Kigali International Airport said, "We no longer have any business with Rwandair until the airline sorts out it self."

The uncertainties between Rwandair and Kenya Airways are causing inconveniences to passengers flying to and from Kigali International Airport. On several occasions they cannot connect to their destinations.

This started when Kenya Airways suspended code share agreement with Rwandair on grounds that their business partner had operational safety issues to sort out.

Rwanda air has since refuted any outstanding issues, wondering how Civil Aviation Authorities of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa could have allowed the airline to operate in those countries without certification.

Before the marriage broke, Kenya airways would advise their passengers to sign indemnity forms with disclaimers, a move Rwandair management calls unprofessional.

Rwandair management says they were being used as a punching bag.

"We are being punished for hiring an aircraft from Kenya Airways business rival," Gerald Zirimwabagabo said.

Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer said as a reputable airline, Kenya Airways had to bring to the attention of their clients and give them the option of making the decision whether they would want to fly with the 3rd party airline with or without any liability on the part of Kenya airways.

This indemnification was not in any way "meant to imply that the 3rd party carrier is unsafe."

Kenya Airways says is an International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certified carrier. ‘Therefore could not risk dealing with Rwanda Air which is not IOSA certified.’

A statement from Kenya Airways head office says the contract provides that before the latter enters into a code share contract with a 3rd party airline, the 3rd party airline has to either be IOSA certified or to have passed a safety audit by Kenya Airways.

"This whole safety certification process is also required of us by other airlines with whom we operate code shares as well as by our Skyteam partners. If we flout this regulation like in the case of Rwanda Air, then we run the risk of losing our code shares," he said.

A statement from KQ says after suspending the agreement, KQ passengers are no longer required to sign the indemnification forms since all KQ flights are rerouted.

Kenya Airways also operates daily flights to Kigali and to over 30 African destinations. It currently operates Code shares with Air Mauritius, Precision Air, Korean Air, Mozambique Airlines, KLM and Air France.

Without a long distance hauler, passengers booked on Rwandair, at times get stranded for hours before they are booked on other planes the airline has code share agreements.


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