Kwae Island Development Limited (KIDL), a Nairobi-based company associated with President William Ruto, operates his helicopter business. Headquartered at Wilson Airport, KIDL owns two hangars and five helicopters.
The helicopters are valued at around Ksh2.6 billion according to a 2021 report. The company was among assets identified by former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i as being among Ruto’s properties.
Ruto is also a player in several other industries including hospitality, agriculture and real estate.
Besides playing a key role in advancing political campaigns and activities, the helicopters are leased out generating further income. The cost of hiring a helicopter has been rising in tandem with fuel prices over the past year.
The cost of jet fuel increased to over Ksh136 a litre in June 2022 from Ksh100 in January of the same year, resulting in aviation firms charging higher leasing fees. Tropic Air increased its charges to $2,800 (Sh332,248) per hour to lease a five-seater chopper, up from $2,500 (Sh296,650) per hour in March last year, representing a 12 percent increase. Bella Aviation raised its charges to $2,100 (Sh248,745) per hour for a five-seater chopper up from $1,800 (Ksh213,210) in March 2022, representing a 17 percent increase.
The political campaigns in the past year also helped drive demand for choppers. Other politicians who operate chopper hire businesses include Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.
Ruto’s KIDL owns different Airbus and Eurocopter models purchased for between Ksh290 million and Ksh970 million. They are;
- 5Y KDM, Airbus H145 T2 purchased for Ksh970 million
2. 5Y DSC, Eurocopter 130 T2 purchased for Ksh740 million
3. 5Y KDN, Airbus H130 valued at Ksh330 million
4. 5Y DSN, Airbus H125 valued at Ksh290 million
5. 5Y SAK, Airbus H125 valued at Ksh290 million