JKIA blackout: KAA boss Alex Gitari, engineering manager sacked

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen Saturday announced the termination of the contract of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director Alex Gitari and Fred Odawo, the Engineering General Manager, following a nationwide blackout that saw an embarrassing power outage at East Africa’s busiest hub, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

In Mr Gitari’s place, Mr Henry Ogoye, currently serving as the Head of Corporate Planning, has been appointed to be the Acting Managing Director of KAA.

Eng. Samuel Mwochache has been appointed in an acting capacity as the General Manager, Engineering.

The minister insisted that the termination of contracts was “by mutual consent.”

Mr Murkomen also moved JKIA airports manager Alex Gogo to Moi International Airport, Mombasa, replacing Peter Wafula, who  now moves to Kisumu International Airport.

Ms Selina Gor, the Airport Manager Kisumu International Airport now moves to JKIA.

“I wish to issue unreserved apology to all travellers and airport users who were affected in one way or the other by the power disruption at JKIA,” Mr Murkomen said.

The outage affected Terminal 1A, the biggest and “the jewel” of this busy hub, Mr Murkomen said.

The control tower and the runways, he insisted, were not affected.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the incident though regrettable did not pose any danger to our incoming and outgoing flights and passengers

considering that the backup generator lighting the runway and control tower was seamlessly deployed when the blackout occurred and at no time did we have an iota of darkness on the runway and the tower,” he said.

The incident, the minister said, was inexcusable and “we should have prepared for this, and we are not allowed to give any excuses.”

KAA, Mr Murkomen said, has since begun the process of hiring permanent staff to take these positions, in an exercise that will be concluded within the next two weeks.

“In order to ensure that a similar incident is not replicated, it has been decided that the two generators that were procured more than two years ago be immediately commissioned,” said Mr Murkomen.

He went on: “I assure the country and the world that we have taken measures to enhance capacity of technical experts in the engineering department to ensure this incident does not recur.”


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