NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Kenya Airways has defended demands for proof of identification before boarding its planes, even as Senator Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) demanded an apology over what he described as humiliation by the airline after he failed to produce his ID for a flight to Mombasa on Thursday night.
The aircraft in which Wetangula, a host of other Senators and Speaker Ekwee Ethuro had boarded was grounded for three hours and everyone evacuated following what was described as a security concern.
“I would like to register my disappointment with the mistreatment and humiliation that I went through last night in the hands of the staff of the Kenya Airways. I feel offended and demand an apology from the national carrier for their mistreatment,” read a statement sent by the Bungoma Senator.
A statement posed on the airline’s Facebook page by the CEO designate Mbuvi Ngunze read in part: “Kenya Airways wishes to clarify that as per its security program approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, all passengers must show a form of photo identification prior to boarding an aircraft, either during check in or at boarding.”
Wetangula insists that he tried to explain to the staff about the whereabouts of his identification document but his pleas were simply ignored.
“I explained to the airline staff that I forgot to pick my ID card from the travel bag which my driver and security officer had driven with to Mombasa ahead of me. When they insisted, I produced my KQ Frequent Flier Platinum Card which bears my name, my parliamentary medical card which has my photo and all the five bank credit cards just to prove that it was me, but none of them could hear this,” complained Wetangula.
Kenya Airways however says it was complying with the civil aviation industry guidelines which outline its operations.
“Kenya Airways operates in a highly regulated industry and in the context of the prevailing security environment these measures become more imperative. These requirements are clearly posted at all the passenger accessible areas at all airports,” the statement further read.
The airline explained that such measures have become more necessary due to the prevailing security situation and the nature of its operations.
Wetangula has now threatened to introduce a motion in the Senate to discuss the conduct of the KQ staff and decide on any future engagement with the national carrier.
“The humiliation and embarrassment I was subjected to at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last night in the presence of the two Speakers did not augur well with my colleagues present who have vowed to move a motion of adjournment next Tuesday to discuss the misconduct of the KQ staff,” added Wetangula.
He went on state that he had flown with the national carrier on several occasions both locally and internationally and even acquired the Frequent Flier’s Platinum status and did not understand why the staff treated him in the manner they did.
Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi Alias Sonko has however promised to defend the KQ staff against any action initiated by Wetangula, saying that they were right to demand proof of identification even from VIPs.