KCAA reviewing Silverstone plan to change name


Passengers wait to board Silverstone aircraft from Kisumu International Airport to Mombasa on February 24, 2019. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The aviation regulator is currently reviewing an application by Silverstone Air before it can clear it to resume passenger operations as Jetlite Air Limited.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Gilbert Kibe told Shipping and Logistics Monday that the application is currently with the regulator but a decision to approve, or deny the carrier a new licence has not been made.

The carrier voluntarily suspended passenger flights in November 2019, even after the aviation regulator had lifted the provisional suspension of its Dash- 8 fleet over alleged security breaches.

Since then, the troubled carrier that started operations in the Kenyan market in 2017 has been operating cargo flights across markets.

“We have received an application by Silverstone seeking to change its name to Jetlite Air and we are still working on it,” said Mr Kibe.

“In the next few days, a verdict on the matter will be out. Maybe in the next one week we will have reached a decision on the matter.”

The airline’s troubles started in September 2019 after a passenger aircraft operated by the airline skidded off the runway at Wilson Airport, Nairobi.

The Fokker 50 aircraft plunged into a thicket, hitting some trees and breaking part of its wing, before being grounded, and tilted to one side.

In October 2019, another Dash 8 – 300 aircraft, registration number 5YBWG, and operated by the carrier was also forced to make an emergency landing at Eldoret International Airport after one of its tyres dropped off mid-air a few moments after taking off from Lodwar.

The move saw the aviation regulator temporarily suspend its operations for about a week to probe the security breaches. The airline’s fleet of Dash 8 were grounded.

A few weeks later, KCAA rescinded the decision saying the airline “had provided satisfactory corrective measures as per the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2018, following comprehensive compliance audits”.

Tuesday, the airline’s reservations manager Maurine Bittah said the airline has paid up a substantial number of air ticket refunds and debts owed to suppliers as it gears up to resume operations under a new brand.