The Star (Nairobi)

6 June 2014

Kenya: Fly540 Defends Bishop 'Lift Off'

THE operations manager of airline Fly540 Nickson Ooko yesterday said they did not have the special equipment that Emmy Kosgei's father, Bishop Jackson Kosgei, needed to get out of the plane.

Speaking before the joint Senate and Parliamentary Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity in Nairobi yesterday, Ooko said Jackson asked for a lift off. He said the term "lift off" is an aviation jargon that means "physical carrying of immobile person(s) into or out the plane."

He said the flight attendant asked to carry the bishop out of the plane but he declined the service insisting on the "lift off". "We did not understand why the bishop refused to be carried out of the plane yet he has been accepting such services,"said the director.

Asked by the committee chair Johnson Sakaja how the bishop got into the plane,Ooko said they borrowed a special arm chair from the Kenya Airways to carry the bishop.

A committee member ,Joseph Nkaiserry asked why the same arrangement were not made in Nairobi and why the airline had not bought such an equipment. But Ooko said they were denied the chair in Nairobi.

He said that it is normally the duty of the Kenya airports authority to provide special equipments to persons with disabilities and not the company. "Our work is to run the airline ,not to provide special equipments to people with disability. That is KAA's work,"Ooko said.

The director added that the equipment is very expensive and that KQ owns it because of the "high market they enjoy." Sakaja said the committee will summon the airline again together with bishop Kosgei and KAA to ascertain the "truth of what transpired on 11th May 2011" ,then make recommendations that will be taken to parliament for deliberation.

Bishop Kosgei had alleged that the Fly540 attendants did offer offer him assistance at the Jomo Kenyatta airport . Bishop Kosgei alleged that after 40 minutes of stand-off, he was ordered to alight on his own.

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