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February 27, 2020 - 22:57
Cyprian Is Nyakundi
Front Business

Why JKIA’s security rating could be lowered globally.

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The airport is one of the most highly secured places.

However, a British television channel recently reported that the man who fell from a Kenya Airways plane in London in June was Kenyan.

The victim of the incident involving the flight that is suspected to have originated from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi was identified by the reporter as Paul Manyasi from Kakamega.

The story has had me questioning the effectiveness of security measures and scrutiny in our airports, particularly JKIA.

Does this incident portray insecurity in our airports? It’s not yet clear how the man bypassed security to secretly enter the plane’s landing gear compartment and yet he was neither a passenger nor crew.

The incident is a wake-up call to the airport management and the Kenya Airports Authority to review and tighten the security systems in the airport.

If it was negligence by the people obliged to ensure and provide safety, appropriate legal and disciplinary measures should be taken against the culprit(s).

The story of the KQ stowaway has raised more questions than answers.

One, how did the Sky News reporter know his name and home yet he did not have identification documents on him?

Secondly, how did the man, whom the British television channel has identified as Paul Manyasi, bypass the security checks? For an international flight, checks can go up to two hours.

Thirdly, why is the family now changing their story yet they had confirmed that the victim was their son? And why did KAA and Colnet refuse an interview with Sky News before this came out?

There are several gaps in this story but two things stand out in it: insecurity at the largest airport in Kenya and the many challenges the country’s youth are battling.

The unfriendly environment forces them to take risks in a bid to get to a Western country for “greener pastures”.

Whether the stowaway who fell from a KQ plane in London was Kenyan or not, investigations linked the time of the drop to the aircraft landings at Heathrow at that time, and Kenya Airways was a most likely culprit.

But how did he get into the wheel hold and ride all the way to London? This is the crux of the matter, if you ask me.

And how did he manage to get to the plane without being noticed?

Catherine Wachera Mutahi, Nairobi

That the Kenya Airports Authority has not released the relevant CCTV footage of the activities at JKIA since an alleged Kenyan stowaway fell from a Kenya Airways plane moments before it landed at a UK airport in June smirks of a scheme to avoid responsibility.

KAA, the cleaning company and security agencies should shoulder the responsibility since it might see JKIA’s security rating lowered globally. KAA should tell the truth; the truth will save it.

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