Airlines given free rein in lawless Somalia route

Some local airlines could have taken advantage of the lawlessness in Somalia’s airspace to exploit the country’s aviation rules as well as engage in what could endanger the lives of the crew. At least three passenger aircraft registered by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) have continued to transport excess cargo to and within Somalia months after the regulator directed that only cargo-configured aircraft be allowed to transport goods.

Some of the photographs and videos in possession of Financial Standard show a non-configured Fokker 50 plane – a Dutch manufactured airliner that can carry up to 50 passengers over a distance of 2,000Km being loaded with cargo at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The aircraft, whose registration number is 5Y – MIS, while doing business within Somalia carried excess cargo weighing more than 7,000 kilograms for several days, a breach of Kenya’s aviation law. In another instance, the aircraft flew on August 14, 2018 with cargo – a service that was paid for on August 19, 2018 according to invoices seen by Financial Standard. Our investigation showed that the aircraft is owned by Silverstone.

Skyward Express is also in the same business, which puts the regulator on the spot. At the heart of the ownership are Mr Isaack Somo, who operates Skyward Express and Jetways while Mohamed Abdi, is the chair of Skyward.

Mr Mohamed Somo operates Silverstone. Videos obtained by the investigative team show the planes carrying cargo weighing more than eight tonnes, which according to insiders, is above the permitted weight of five tonnes.