Why FlySax plane changed route
3 weeks ago, 07:30
Owners of FlySax, the airline whose plane crashed in the Aberdares killing 10 people, are the ones who made a route change before the tragedy befell its crew and passengers, the Transport ministry says.
The ministry has dismissed reports that airport officials in Nairobi had told the crew to use an unfamiliar route over the dense forest in Nyandarua County.
Mr Gilbert Kibe, the director-general of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, on Thursday said the diversion made by FlySax on June 5 was for convenience.
“Because that flight had been delayed, there were some passengers that were making a connecting flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,” Mr Kibe told journalists in Nairobi.
“So, the company called the crew and told them to route via JKIA, drop the three passengers first then proceed to Wilson Airport so that those passengers could not miss their connecting flight. That is why there was a diversion.”
On the question of weather, he said the controllers at JKIA gave advice to the crew.
“Our air traffic control did give an advisory but the crew continued with what they had requested for; and we had authorised it. Further details are still being investigated,” he said.
Mr Kibe noted that from oral evidence gathered so far, it is FlySax that informed the plane’s crew to re-route.
No air traffic control
This contradicts earlier reports that the flight crew had been told to detour due to bad weather.
“The reason why we found out after the aircraft got airborne from Kitale is that there is no air traffic control at the airstrip. So, after getting airborne, a few minutes later, is when the crew called our Eldoret Tower and Approach Control to inform them that they were airborne from Kitale and that they were flying to Nairobi,” said Mr Kibe.
At some point later, Mr Kibe said, is where the crew also mentioned that they wished to divert to JKIA.
“It is not true that anybody from our side ordered them to go to JKIA. It was at their request and it is normal that you can change a flight plan for whatever reason.”
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the crew had initially requested to route via a radio station at Ngong Hills but later revised the path to a waypoint called Avena in aviation circles, which is on the route to JKIA.
In the 11-page report prepared by the Transport ministry, fresh details have been released about Captain Barbara Kamau and her first officer Jean Mureithi, who perished alongside the eight passengers in the plane.
Captain Kamau, born in 1988, had been employed by FlySax in 2014 and had a commercial pilot licence that was to expire in May 2019.
By May 11, she had accumulated 2,352 flight hours.
The first officer was born in 1992 and had joined FlySax in 2017.
She had accumulated 301 flight hours by September 2017.
The Transport CS said both crew had been certified to fly and that the ...
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