Kenya may soon run short of pilots in the aviation industry as the ones in service are ageing.
The President and founder of Young Aviators Club of Africa, Mercy Makau says this is so because at 65 years of age one cannot be allowed to fly.
“We do not have enough young men and women who are qualified pilots in Kenya, and this is likely going to bring doom in the aviation industry if we do not train our children to be pilots,” said Makau during Magadi Education Day on Sunday.
She said many of those with pilot licenses are now in their 40s and above.
Makau said the East African School of Aviation offers degree courses in aeronautical engineering and other related subjects.
19-year-old Glain Naneu, a Maasai girl from Kajiado who is undertaking a flying course at the Flight Training School in Nairobi, and bachelor’s degree on civil aviation management at East African School of Aviation, was also in attendance in Magadi annual event.
Naneu is an alumnus of Magadi Primary School. Also present was Eng. Joseph Nkadayo, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Chairman, former KQ CEO Titus Naikuni and Magadi Soda Foundation board of trustees’ chairman, Dr. Stephen Moiko.
Naneu said to qualify as a pilot in Kenya, one has to part with close to Sh6 million for two licenses.
For instance, she said, to get a private pilot’s license from the Kenya School of Flying, student parts with a minimum amount of Sh2 million while getting a commercial pilot’s license costs over Sh4 million for the one year course.
The Magadi Maasai young woman says she always had a passion for flying when she was in primary school. and adds that her dreams came true after registering for a flight course.
She went to Karura Adventist School after her primary school education and scored a B- in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
Naneu accompanied a flight captain when she attended this year’s Magadi Soda Foundation Education Day on July 12.
With the high fee structure, students from local schools are more probable to get jobs with smaller airlines in Kenya which pay less than what their colleagues working for the national carrier get.
Kenya Airways, on its part, widely recruits trainees from South African schools such as 43 Air School in Port Elizabeth.
The school, which is by far the largest on-location training fleet in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest live on-campus facility on the continent, trains for the private, general commercial, airline, and military sectors. Hence Kenya Airways’ preference for the school.
And the carrier goes to great length to see its staff train there.
Once Naneu graduates, she is probably going to be the second Maasai woman pilot in Kajiado, after another from Kaputiei Ward who is currently flying police helicopters at Kenya Police Air Wing in Nairobi.