Photograph — Safe travel

Kenya Airways (KQ) has hired a UK company, Aviation and Aerospace Consulting Services (ICF) to investigate a collision between two Embraer jets. The collision which occurred during a technical engine maintenance check caused multi-million-shilling damages to the two planes which were under repair.

The contract which is expected to be completed within a year was signed by the outgoing KQ chief executive, Sebastian Mikosz. The agreement will earn ICF about $250,000.

The airline in a statement said it has a long-standing relationship with ICF, dating back to 2013 and their main service has been to provide independent aviation audits in respect to technical reliability and capacity of both fleet and personnel. “There are no local experts who have the international recognition required for this assignment,” said the airline.

The consulting firm has been tasked with the responsibility of establishing reasons why the two planes collided at a Jomo Kenyatta International Airport repair hangar in February. The incident had attracted widespread social media interest after employees of the airline leaked pictures of the damaged planes.

In the company’s proposal for engineering and maintenance support for the national carrier, it said “Kenya Airways has recently suffered a number of maintenance incidents resulting in serious damage to aircraft that could also have endangered the lives of those involved or those in the vicinity, the most serious being the collision of two Embraer aircraft during engine runs.”

Also, documents sent to KQ from ICF identified operational weaknesses in the maintenance programme of the aircrafts. However, the firm notes that the programme had improved over recent years.

ICF is expected to send a team of four consultants to Nairobi to perform the task for a period of between six and twelve months. These consultants will be tasked with performing analysis across all areas of operations such as maintenance, control and workshops.

After investigations are completed, the firm will provide a detailed written report of their findings and observations.

In June, a Kenya Airways-owned plane had to make an emergency landing in Mombasa after developing a mechanical problem 20 minutes after take-off. The KQ 609 flight to Nairobi was airborne when the plane’s warning system raised alarm and the pilot made a U-turn to Mombasa as a result.

By Tobiloba Ishola.


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