Kenyan aviation regulator cracks down on passenger planes illegally carrying khat

The move could see traders face losses running into millions of shillings

Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri said more than 30 tonnes of miraa that was delivered at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday evening was yet to be cleared for export by Thursday morning.

Traders are now facing losses running into millions of shillings in the standoff.

The move comes after KCAA officials led by Director General Gilbert Kibe, last week made an impromptu visit to the airport following reports that passenger aircraft are used to ferry miraa.

However, no aircraft was found to be non-compliant during the inspection at Wilson Airport.

The director general said operators found non-compliant will have their licenses and certificates withdrawn.

“We are also investigating KCAA officials alleged to be complacent in allowing the non-compliant operators,” he said.

Mr Munjuri however faulted KCAA saying it had failed in approving aircraft before they are put into cargo business.

“KCAA is involved and must certify an aircraft and its operator at every step of [its] acquisition. They also must be involved and certify every operation of an aircraft daily. So where is this knee-jerk decision emanating from?” Mr Munjuri posed.

He claimed there were traders and operators out to monopolise the miraa route.

Mr Munjuri noted that the delay may deal a big blow to the industry which is already reeling from shortage and farm gate high prices.

Traders have urged KCAA and operators to move with speed to avert loss of the perishable twigs.

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