(eTN) – It emerged in a sudden development over the past few days that the four-year-old and very beneficial codeshare deal between Kenya Airways (KQ) and Rwandair was coming to a possibly abrupt and premature end.
Differences emerged over Kenya Airways’ insistence on indemnities over the use of leased aircraft by the Rwandese national airline. KQ was expressing concern over the use of jets owned by Kenyan private airline Jetlink and subsequently asked to receive further assurances and indemnities from the Rwandan partner. When this was not forthcoming, the present agreement proved difficult to maintain for the time being in view of KQ’s strict application of the International Air Transport Association requirements, being itself an IATA Operational Safety Audit-certified carrier with a current recertification.
Sources claim that Rwandair has very recently canceled the lease for its B737-500 with Air Malawi, but neither confirmation of the fact nor for the possible reasons was forthcoming from Rwandair’s head office in Kigali.
Subsequently Rwandair opted for a short term lease solution with Jetlink, which operates two CRJ 100ER 50-seater jets (besides some older F28) which are less than 10 years old. The Bombardier CRJs entered service for the Kenyan airline in the second half of last year after, what we understand from Jetlink sources, coming out of a full major maintenance check as new.
However, the crash of an aged early generation DC9 in Goma last week may well have raised the attention levels with airlines in the region to be extra careful and demand documentary evidence and certain indemnifications, when doing business with each other.
The recent grounding of MD aircraft in the United States, following sharpened airworthiness directives (AD) by the Federal Aviation Administration concerning wiring issues, may also have had an impact on the safety conscious minds of airline managements although it is of no direct consequence to Rwandair or KQ, as none of them operates these models – while others in the region of course do. This mainly concerns Civil Aviation Authorities, which may now have to follow suit with what the FAA has initiated and demand similar inspections of carriers using MD and DC9 aircraft.