Airports, Commercial Carriers, and Private Pilot Considerations in Kenya
Kenya is a developed country which for many years has been trying its best to keep up with other developed and developing countries globally. To do so, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. The best thing is that such sacrifices can be advantageous to the common mwananchi(citizen). There are developments that I personally have appreciated and benefited immensely from.
One such development is the construction, expansions and development of the aviation industry. I am a private pilot who loves flight seeing, and the numerous airports and airstrips in Kenya have given me the opportunity to visit places anywhere whenever I’m free. I usually fly for recreational purposes and for fun.
Most of the flight laws in Kenya airports are usually accommodating and this has given me the chance to view Kenya at its best. My most lovely flight seeing experience is watching the migration of the wildebeest every summer. When you are watching the migration form a plane, there is much to capture and adventure than a person using a game drive.
Economically, the aviation industry has provided opportunities to farmers, especially those who deal with perishable goods such as horticulture produce like flowers, the advantage of enabling their produce to reach the market in time which means a better profitability to the farmers.
Kenya has developed several internationals airports which serve various international airlines which ferry tourist into the country. Kenya is located in East Africa. On the north, the country is bordered by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the south by Sudan, the west by Uganda & Lake Victoria and on the east by both Somalia and Indian Ocean.
For such movements to be effectively achieved there are various airports established in the country. All the airports in Kenya are managed by the Kenya Airports Authority.
There are various international airlines, cargo airlines and domestic airlines which operate within JKIA and other international airports. They include:
- Air France
- Air India
- Air Italy
- Air Mauritius
- Air Tanzania
- Air Zimbabwe
- Blue Panorama Airlines
- British Airways
- Swiss Airways
- Egypt Air
- Air Arabia
- Egypt Air cargo
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Qatar Airlines
- Emirates Airlines
- South African Airways
- 540 Air Services
- Precision Air
- Turkish Airlines
- Astral Aviation
How Do I Become a Pilot?
This is one question that I used to ask my parents back when I was a kid. I grew up believing that it took a lot of intelligence and skills to become one. Okay, the latter is true for any experienced pilot. A lot of skills, actually experience, is paramount to fly any plane. And you will unless you own your own private plane, no one will be trusting you to take them on air if you are not experienced – even in cases of emergency.
Back to my background, my parent believed that I had to score the best of grade to become a pilot. Of course I knew and grew up knowing that any person goes to school to get good grades. And I was ever determined to prove to them that I was worthy such a person. However, not every education system guarantees any success in life. I used to tell my dad so and he would get mad at me. I may be an average performer in academics, but that didn’t hinder me from believing that one day I would make it despite my dismal performance oft a times.
I was determined, even though I didn’t quiet envision being a pilot as my parent wanted me to be. However there was something innate in me that made me take piloting classes later in life; I loved adventure. Since I was a child, I loved going and taking part in outdoor activities because they usually gave me a sense of belonging; they, simply, enabled me to find my true self.
This always gave me confidence and enabled me to fit in and to be at a position to interact socially with other people. As a matter of facts, most of my closest friends to date are those whom I met and interacted with in various outdoor activities. I always loved camping, biking, mountaineering and rock climbing. Whenever there was an opportunity for such activities, I was always present.
Therefore even after graduating from college where I did chemistry, I felt that part of me was incomplete. There was something out there which I needed to enable me to get time to adventure and get ‘wild’ despite my busy schedule. I didn’t have any clue what I lacked for long.
Developing an Interest in Piloting
One day, while I was geocaching in Doon Valley, Scotland, I realized what I apparently had been missing for that long. There happened to be an aircraft which passed us four times at one spot at my colleague and I tried to locate a cache in the industrial ruins of the place. At first, it seemed as if the pilot of the aircraft was monitoring our movements since was flying just above our head.
But I just asked myself what about us or anything that we could be doing was of much interest to him-nothing. The pilot must have been having some good times. He actually was adventuring just like my colleague and I were doing and he was feeling happy about it. The best advantage about him was that he was at a position of visiting and sight-seeing some of the best places that a person hiking could hardly reach. This gave birth to my craving to become a private pilot.
I also wanted to be at a position of adventuring places that I could barely reach with ease. I wanted to have able to transverse more land masses at a shorter time given my busy schedule. More importantly, I wanted to prove to my teachers that I could put the mathematics and science that I learned in high school into good use, while letting my parent realize that I attained the dreams about me that they always possessed.
My First Flight Experience
Entirely, I wanted to flight-see and have some fun which always gave me a sense of belonging. Therefore, after the geocaching expedition, I enrolled for a course to study piloting. I don’t know why many people think that piloting is such a hard course. Actually, within two and half months, which I presume is relatively long for someone above average, I had my first private pilot license. The license enables me to go to places and have the fun that I much craved for.
Today I own my own plane, a Cessna make, and actually I proposed to the woman of my wife in the same plane which make it more wonderful and an important aspect of our marriage life.
A Visit to Kenya
So at last I was on my heading to Kenya, my home country after decades in diaspora. Throughout my life I always wanted to travel to Kenya but I never had the opportunity. My parents were both born in Kenya. My dad met mum while he was schooling in London, England and they later settled their together. This was where my two sisters and I were born. Apparently, we visited Kenya when I was too young, about 5 years old, and there is nothing much that I can recall about the visit. My kid sister was two years old and our last born was yet to be sired.
There were nice things about Kenya that I always heard and kept record from the several photos and letters that my relatives from the place used to send (I also have several about Kenya which were taken back when we visited the place while I was a kid). I always wanted to go there and meet them in person. That would never be the case for the next 17 years. Now, though I’m 22, the opportunity was here.
The only disadvantage was that the visit was happening during a period of gloom. We were traveling back ‘home’ for a burial of my grandmother who apparently had died from Stage IV breast cancer. When we received the news, we were so devastated because my grandpa was already battling gynecomastia. It had been and still was hard for him to stick on special diet as well as to routinely exercise as health experts had advised him. There were times that he was so ill to even have the energy to get up from the bed, and I knew that the loss of my grandmother, whom the two had lived together for ages, must have really shocked him.
As a matter of facts, throughout the short period that my grandma was diagnosed of Stage IV Breast Cancer, till her death just four months later, my grandpa was much affected. He had lost a lot of weight during the period and was also very much depressed. Whenever he would call my dad who had been of much help during all this time, I could feel the pain in his voice. Indeed he was devastated. I knew he couldn’t afford to lose her and that why it pained.
I still find it hard for my grandma to have failed to go for mammography tests all this time despite the fact that she had lost her sister to breast cancer 6 years earlier. Maybe she must have been misinformed about the disease or it may have been out of sheer ignorance, and by the time it was detected, the tumor had widely spread and the chances of saving her were very slim. This explains why the disease caused her death in just a few months.
Healthcare in Kenya for Cancer Victims
As much as Kenya is a still a developing country, it has several good hospitals which are well equipped with modern equipment for chemotherapy and radiation procedures for cancer victims. One such which I found out on my visit there was Kenyatta National Hospital which is located at the heart of the capital city, Nairobi.
It is a public hospital which is well equipped with facilities to help in the screening, diagnostic, radiation, surgery and the palliative care of cancer victims. Initially before she was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital after her condition worsened, she was being treated at Kijabe Mission Hospital where I found out that the hospital had special treatment of breast cancer.
There were other great private hospitals within the city which too offered treatment, care and support for cancer victims such as Aga Khan University Hospital located in Parklands, Nairobi, Mater Hospital in South B, M.P. Shah Hospital/Cancer Care Kenya too in Parklands amongst others. They all offer affordable hospital services to cancer victims.
Now that I was abound on KLM air carriers, I was glad that at last I would be able to connect with my relatives back at home. We had booked a nonstop flight directly from Heathrow International Airport in London to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi Kenya which took us around 9 hours.
The Beauty of the Country
The first thing that I noted upon reaching the airports was the warm welcome at the port. Already there were some members of the family who had come to pick us up and they had been waiting for us. The airport was quiet busy that morning with the numerous arrival from various airlines and being a summer, it was quiet evident that many tourists were flocking the country, an indication that there was much to sight-see.
Everyone was a bit tired because of the nonstop flight and we all needed to rests. Therefore, we picked our luggage and took a cab straight to Sarova Stanley Hotel where my parent had booked for our short stay. Dad decided to leave us there at the hotel as he went together with the relatives who had come to welcome us.
I didn’t get any sleep as I planned. All through, I was researching on the best places that I could visit in Nairobi during our stay there. One place which caught my attention was Nairobi National Park. This was the first place that my sisters and I visited after the burial ceremony of my grandma.
It is located at the heart Nairobi city and it is home to the big cats of Africa. We loved the ambiance of the place and it was great watching wildlife and their behavior while you still are within the city where the mammoth buildings are still in complete view. On the same day in the aftrenoon we went to visit David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and loved watching the elephants there. In all these wildlife conservation centers, we encountered guides who were hospitable and quiet knowledgeable about the animals and especially when it came to tracking them.
This induced me to plan on a visit to Masaai Mara National Reserve which is revered as the Africa’s best game reserve. The experience there was really exhilarating and awesome. It really made me feel at home and welcomed in Kenya.