Aviation security experts dismiss report on Uhuru Yemeni flight


Aviation and security experts have said the reasons given by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit for the cancellation of Presdent Uhuru Kenyatta’s US trip cannot hold.

The Star has established that 15 minutes after the President’s jet was allegedly turned back from Yemeni airspace, a Kenya Airways aircraft flew through the same airspace without any hindrance.

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This is after the Arab Coalition gave commercial flights clearance to fly through Yemeni airspace.

On Friday, PSCU boss Manoah Esipisu said the presidential jet turned back following increased military activity in Yemeni airspace.

The fact that the the Fokker 70, which the President uses, is a Kenya Airforce plane dictates that its route is announced well before it enters any country’s airspace.

International travel procedures, especially for a Head of State, demand that the Foreign Affairs ministry contacts its counterpart in the country through which the aircraft will be flying and declare its route and duration before embarking on the journey.

Aviation and diplomacy experts say it is mandatory for the President’s team to inform the host President, the exact coordinates of point of entry into that country and time of entry.

As diplomatic courtesy dictates, the host President engages the flying President in a chat during the time the aircraft is in the host country’s airspace until it exits.

This is repeated each time the presidential jet enters any foreign country.

The Foreign Affairs ministry and the Kenya Airforce should have obtained clearance in advance after presenting a flight plan and logistics, including refueling plans, and obtained diplomatic clearance for the President’s jet.

Security experts say it was a major security lapse for those in charge to have allowed the plane to take off in the first place without such clearance because it put the President’s life in danger.

The plane is said to have not obtained clearance for Ethiopian airspace.

Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire yesterday said there is more to the cancelled of trip that Kenyans need to know.

He said there are many routes to the US and Dubai and the flight could not have been cancelled because of the closure of the Yemeni route.


– the-star.co.ke

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