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Companies

Silverstone puts losses at Sh70m a week

Sheila Muturi
Silverstone Air Services Accountable Manager Sheila Muturi (centre) accompanied by Mr Victor Gathiru and the company’s chief financial officer Roanld Musundi (right) at a media briefing in Nairobi on October 30, 2019. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Embattled low-cost carrier Silverstone Air says it has lost Sh70 million since the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) suspended its fleet of Dash 8 aeroplanes over safety concerns, a decision which the aviation regulator has so far rescinded.

The airline, in a response to Business Daily queries, said the losses are as a result of the charges incurred in refunding air tickets that customers had booked in advance.

This means the troubled airline was losing Sh10 million a day that also includes costs incurred in hangar fees and other expenses the carrier must meet despite not operating.

“The losses we’ve incurred translate to Sh70 million to date. During normal operations, Silverstone spends about Sh800,000 on fuel and Sh600,000 on landing fees,” the airline said Wednesday.

The budget carrier further indicated that it was too early to decide whether it will resume full operations since it is yet to get direct official communication from KCAA on lifting of the suspension, other than what has been reported in the media.

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The firm said despite media reports that KCAA has cleared its Dash 8 aircraft, it can only resume operations after receiving a detailed report from the regulator to evaluate whether a return to the business was worth it.

Silverstone is now demanding to see the full review from KCAA with detailed explanations at to what it did wrong that led the regulator to halt the fleet.

“A decision to go back to business has not been arrived at now. KCAA is yet to tell us what they found during their audit. It’s unfortunate that they are talking to us through the media.”

The airline, which has been in business in Kenya since 2017, plans to send home its pilots and crew members even as KCAA lifted the suspension of its fleet over safety concerns.

The firm had cited the suspension as grounds for the layoffs.

On Tuesday, the regulator said in a statement that the airline “has provided satisfactory corrective measures as per the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2018, following comprehensive compliance audits”.

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