In 2019 alone, registration of new aircraft owned by wealthy Kenyans and private aviation firms nearly doubled. On average 6 aircraft were registered per month in the last one year.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) registered 87 new aircraft last year, up from 48 fresh listings in 2018, pushing the number of planes in the country to 1,548, excluding those owned by the National Police Service and the Kenya Defence Forces.
“There is a spike which we can only attribute to increased demand for these equipment, which for us is good progress in the aviation sector,” said KCAA Director-General Gilbert Kibe, Business Daily reported.
Aero Club of East Africa – a lobby group of private aircraft owners – attributed the growth in the number of registered planes to Nairobi’s rising status as the region’s business hub and a growing number of wealthy individuals with the means to own and maintain an aircraft.
The 1,548 aircraft comprise those belonging to operators of scheduled and charter flights and privately-owned planes that operate from small airports and airstrips.
Local business magnates, politicians and new millionaires are the ones competing in leasing and owning private planes. According to the Africa Wealth 2019 report published by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank, about 356 billionaires were living in Kenya as of 2018 majority of whom own more than one aircraft.
Large-scale farmers and ranchers based in Nanyuki, Kitale, Laikipia and Narok are also giving the politicians and business magnets a run for their money.
While farmers mostly use their small aircraft to spray their crops, wealthy individuals acquire aircraft to satisfy their ambitions for reliable and personalised travel besides convenience.