in Business Aviation / Features

Kilimanjaro aiming for the top

Posted 3 May 2017 · Add Comment

Fixed-base operations (FBOs) play a major role in supporting general and business aviation operations. In east Africa, one of the most prominent is Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistics Center (KALC) – an affiliate company of Universal Weather and Aviation. Kaleyesus Bekele visited recently.

Established in 2008, appropriately in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, KALC provides local expertise and a continent-wide knowledge base for business aviation operators.
In 2011, the company moved its HQ to Mwanza, Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Universal Weather and Aviation owns KALC. Established in 1959, it has been playing a role in spurring business aviation in different markets. A private company based in Houston, Texas, Universal Weather and Aviation generates more than $1 billion revenue and has 1,000 employees. It handles more than 2,000 international flights per month globally.
“Kilimanjaro Aviation is an African brand of Universal Weather and Aviation,” explained the FBO’s general manager, Stanley Joseph.
Operating business jet flights in Africa can often be challenging, as each of the continent’s 56 countries are bound by subtly different aviation regulations, which can change at any time.
The multilingual KALC team utilises local expertise and a continent-wide network of proven suppliers to provide the correct landing and over-flight permits, clearances, slot management, navigation fees, and permissions, in compliance with all international laws and regulations.
“Our services include, but are not limited to, permits acquisition (over-flight and landing), fuel via our UVair fuel programme, trip support services (TSS), ground support (Universal Aviation) flight planning, aviation technologies, in-flight catering (Air Culinaire Worldwide), VVI/private ground transport (Universal Private Transport), concierge services (Air2Ground), and a host of other services based on client requirements,” said Joseph.
KALC is one of the key founders of the African Business Aviation Association (AFBAA). “We strongly believe in supporting the business aviation industry in the region as it plays a big role in our day-to-day lives, as well as those of our stakeholders. We are committed to educating authorities about business aviation,” said Joseph, who added that his company had managed more than 76,000 flights successfully.
He said KALC had diversified its services from one product (handling flight permits) back in 2011 to providing full support services as an operation centre today.
Having a 24/7 multilingual team, KALC has been able to support a diversified client base in the entire region. “This requires dedication from our people. We are proud of our employees,” Joseph said.
Certainly, operating in Africa, where business aviation is not yet well developed, is not an easy task. Securing on-time flight permits in most African countries is, in itself, quite a task.
Joseph said logistics and subtly different aviation regulations in the 56 countries were major challenges.
Political instability is another problem. “The conflict zones in the region pose a safety challenge when it comes to supporting our clients, as do non-regulated locations,” Joseph said.
Further to that, most ground-handling companies are used to servicing airlines and scheduled flights and it can be difficult for them to cope with the VVIP/non-schedule/private flight needs of business aviation.
Joseph strongly believes in educating government authorities about the paramount importance of business aviation. “What needs to be done is build on what is good now and educate the authorities about business aviation. We are actively involved with the AFBAA platform to educate governments on the essence of business aviation.”
Kilimanjaro Aviation is constantly expanding in Africa. “We have the mind-set that we need to support our clients’ needs in the region. We are currently providing supervisory services in the region; what we are striving to do more is efficiently support our clients – physically be present and provide a helping hand directly,” said Joseph.
“This is in line with our quest to provide world class services to our clients and by being physically present wherever our clients operate.”
KALC’s client base includes multi-national corporations, government and military clients, private operators, charter and fractional operators.
 

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