Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How the Kenyan government sabotages success at KQ

I have blogged extensively on the Government of Kenya's apathy to one of Kenya's largest (direct & indirect) employers... Tourism...

Today is an example of a long-suffering firm (Kenya Airways - KQ) that has to deal with the idiocy that is the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA)...

KAA - headed by uhuru kenyatta's uncle as nepotism is rampant - has mismanaged the Nairobi International Airport (NBO). It is old, dark, humid & dank compared to many other airports around the world.

Emirates Airlines has a new terminal in Dubai. Ongoing attempts by the Dubai government to encourage their local airline compete better in the tough airline world.

Qatar Air has also benefited from a government that has invested in expanding the Doha airport to support QA's rapid growth.

KAA has done jack shit in helping KQ expand.
- A 1970s airport without being updated for the 2000s,
- Insufficient parking for passengers
- Poor customer service.
- High charges but little service
- A poorly lit & pothole filled road to/from the airport
- Poorly manned immigration desk for foreigners requiring PAID visas (a fellow traveller complained it took him an hour to get a visa
- Poor lounge facilities. Hard chairs and even then too few of them.

It happens that KQ has made Nairobi an eviable hub in Africa but to keep their competitive edge KQ needs a larger airport. Perhaps their own terminal! Otherwise KQ will lose out to an emerging Entebbe or Addis Ababa).

Many African airports (e.g. Entebbe, Jo'burg, etc) have apron buses provided by the airport autority but KQ had to buy their own since KAA is too busy hiring lousy personnel!!!

KQ is responsible for bringing in lots of higher-spending tourists as well as facilitating trade for Kenyan firms. These remain a lifeline for Kenya & the GoK should be helping KQ not impeding them!


Anonymous said...

I hear you. Good job bringing this up, yet there is money to extend a road to Thika!!! Seems there is an element in Kenya that is regressing to the Moi economic handbook. Why not build a road to the airport, and have it pay itself off in increased revenue.

Many airports around the world have realized that they can expand, and provide many more services around the airport, e.g. more stores, restaurants, hotels in the airport, food court, etc. People transiting through JKIA, could easily be convinced to stay a day , and in the process drop some income into the Kenyan economy

"The theory behind the boom in airport malls nationwide is simple: Give a captive audience something to buy, and they will buy it. Retailers have flourished at major hub airports, such as those in Pittsburgh and Denver, where passengers fill up time between flights by picking up all manner of gifts and gadgets, grateful for the diversion."

To do all that shopping, JKIA needs space, and lots of it. It needs space for people to linger and window shop, eat, and relax. It needs the visa counters to work, efficiently and quickly, so spur of the moment trips can be planned.

MainaT said...

Isn't there some upgrading work that is supposed to be on-going?

Our issue is not lack of money to upgrade JKIA, its giving people who don't deserve or are incompetent these important jobs.

coldtusker said...

Anon: The 'expanded' road to Thika is needed. Perhaps a toll system (with private sector oversight) should be introduced. Not one or the other.

Nairobi's airport needs better management.

Airport Malls: Great concept in Singapore where the airport is NOT a forbidden zone like Nairobi. There is a fully fledged mall there!

MainaT: Yes.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Isn't this where investors should be coming in? The malls and all?

KAA should do their part, but you let KQ off the hook too easily. I'm not sure if it's always the case, but on Wednesday it was apparent that if they reschedule your connecting flight you have to take care of yourself far as accommodation goes-that could be overwhelming for a first time Nairobberian who had not planned to stay in the first place. I'm not sure what proud airline worth its name does that to unsuspecting wateja. KAA has work to do, but so does KQ.

coldtusker said...

PKW: KQ needs to do its part.

Malls: KAA needs to make it happen before investors come in. The design has to allow for security while being convenient.

Hotels: I don't understand why KAA doesn't allow an airport hotel. It would be a resounding success. Of course, the security has to be top-notch.

Anonymous said...

KAA is very busy, you know? For example, if you drive past Wilson airport, right opposite the entrance of this airport on Lan'gatta road, you'll see a hotel being constructed.
- ANy chance that this is being built on a non-constructable land?
- Who do you think this hotel belongs to? (KAA Boss)