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Is Skyaero a sham airline?

Launched with little fanfare last May, Skyaero airline fizzled out within four months. Recently, it was reported that the airline’s sole DC-9 had been leased to an operator in Somalia.

skyaero logo

Information from an industry source suggests Skyaero’s style of management was not properly optimized towards commercial viability. Currently, the remaining staff are demoralized but hanging on to their jobs as management makes numerous promises that are yet to materialize.

“They couldn’t find the funds for their airline and could not pay their staff. They just keep staff in the office through lies and empty promises to pay,” reveals the source.

Skyaero is run by Pan African Airways, and was formed to conduct domestic passenger services between Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. On 22nd May 2014, Skyaero began flight operations with services between Nairobi and Kisumu. At the time, the airline said it would charge a flat rate of Ksh5,400 for a one way flight.

Some of the airline’s top management are or were: John Clarke (Chairman), Shaun Dewey (Chief Operations Officer), Mike Carvath (Chief Business Development Officer) and Captain Kokoro Janda (Director of Flight Operations).

Coming so soon after the launch of Jambojet in April, it was thought that Kenya’s domestic airline scene was getting very vibrant. However, Skyaero failed to live up to expectations.

Unlike Jambojet with three aircraft, Skyaero had only one aircraft – a 33 year old DC-9. The lack of investment in marketing and publicity meant that Skyaero was flying very low loads. The travelling public was simply not aware of the airline’s existence. On some days, Skyaero would fly just two passengers from Kisumu to Nairobi in an aircraft with a seating capacity of 100!

Our source is livid about Skyaero’s very existence. “KCAA should consider this a scam operator and not let them to abuse your nation under the name of airlines … why do you let these people stay in Nairobi when not even the Somalis could support them?

“Some staff have gone without payment for 6 months. They [Skyaero] have an office on the 2nd floor of the Airport Trade Centre. They keep telling staff that they will find someone to invest and that everyone will be paid when the funds come. The CEO is ever in and out of Nairobi,” reveals the source.

The source told us that Skyaero terminated the contracts of at least six expatriate workers and sent them away without pay. The expatriates have since left the country but are allegedly suffering financial distress back home.

On the purpose of revealing such damaging information, the source said that the motive was to, “stop these people from abusing the Kenyan aviation industry.”

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