Members of Parliament are probing Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Chairman Isaac Awuondo’s conflict of interest in Kenya Airways (KQ)’s bid to take over operations at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
On Tuesday, the legislators summoned Awuondo who doubles up as the Managing Director of NIC, which is planning a merger with CBA Bank, to explain his interest in the deal after Kenya Airways acquired a Ksh5 billion loan from the bank.
The MPs have branded the takeover bid, which has been approved by the Cabinet, as suspect and want Awuondo to shed more light on the matter.
KAA Managing Director Jonny Andersen, who appeared before the MPs, stated that the authority is closely studying KQ’s proposal to acquire a 30 year concession to run the airport.
Of concern to the MPs is how KQ will run JKIA given that in 2018, the government had to pump in Ksh4 billion to the loss making national carrier while KAA made more than Ksh7 billion from JKIA alone last year without factoring in the other airports in the country.
The legislators are also questioning KQ’s ability to handle security and complex operations at the installation considering its significance as the main airport in the country and a regional transport hub.
Speaking at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, National Assembly Public Investments Committee Chairperson AbdulSwamad Shariff Nassir described the proposal as a ‘terrible deal’ which is not in the best interests of Kenyans.
“KQ cannot run JKIA. If the airline takes over operations at the airport, it is also likely that other airlines will want to take over the other airports in the country,” said Mr Nassir.