Former Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze has been appointed as a non-executive chairman for local airline Safarilink Aviation marking his re-entry in the aviation sector.
Mr Mbuvi’s appointment follows an ownership change at Safarilink as ALS Limited, one of the shareholders of the firm, sold its entire to Bridges Limited, a Ramco Group affiliate, and an existing shareholder.
As a result of this private transaction, Captain Aslam Khan of ALS relinquished his position of chairman with Safarilink’s owners settling on Mr Ngunze to steer the airline’s board.
“Safarilink is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Ngunze as the new non-executive chairman of the company with effect from March 2018,” the airline’s managing director, John Buckley, said in a statement.
“His professional background and experience will provide strong leadership, support and guidance in ensuring appropriate checks and balances within Safarilink, whilst gearing up for expansion.”
Tourist destination airline
Safarilink, which operates from Wilson Airport, was launched in 2004 and markets itself as a tourist destination carrier.
The airline’s destinations include Amboseli, Lamu, Diani, Vipingo, Zanzibar, Kitale, Lodwar, Nanyuki, Samburu, Tsavo, Kilimanjaro, Kitale and Masaai Mara among others.
It has a fleet of 11 aircraft – nine Nine Cessna Caravans and two Bombardier Dash 8s– which also offer chartered services.
Mr Ngunze joins Safarilink three months after completing his advisory job at Kenya Airways which saw him take up a leading role in the airline’s balance sheet restructuring.
His departure from KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, was first announced late 2016, but he was formally replaced as CEO by Sebastian Mikosz on June 1.
Safarilink, whose competitors include Jambojet (a KQ subsidiary), Fly540, Fly-SAX and Skyward Express, is set to benefit from his two-year stint at the helm of the national carrier.
His appointment comes at a time when the domestic air market has seen rising demand in the recent years as more Kenyans opt to fly, generating heated competition among carriers.
“We are honoured to have Mr Ngunze join the team and are delighted to welcome him to the Board,” said Mr Buckley.