Nairobi News

General

Fly540 handled Bishop Kosgei matter badly

Fly540 has been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons.

The airline hit the headlines after Bishop Jackson Kosgei accused them of making him crawl off one of their planes and down the stairway.

They refused to help him disembark even though he was disabled because it was against their policy, he said.

The bishop alleges the airline staff helped him board Fly540’s flight at Eldoret but when it landed at JKIA, roughly 40 minutes later, no such help was forthcoming.

Staff told him they were not allowed to assist disabled passengers board or alight from their planes.

No less a person than the airline’s CEO made it very clear in an interview with this newspaper that it was the company’s policy not to carry disabled passengers.

Our report of this shocking incident caused a major uproar on social media, with hundreds of Kenyans weighing in with stinging criticism of the manner in which the airline handled the issue.

The airline has since come out to set the record straight.

It admits that Bishop Kosgei is a frequent traveller with Fly540 and claims it has conducted its own investigations and established that the bishop was in fact offered assistance from staff while disembarking, but refused it out of pique.

“Bishop Kosgei has travelled with 540 several times before. Our aircraft are small with no ability for passenger lifts and he knows this to be the case as he has been helped on and off the aircraft previously.”

It expresses sadness at the “whole episode and the slur on our hard working staff.”

According to IATA regulations, it is the business of airlines to ensure that passengers with reduced mobility and other disabilities have equal or equivalent access to services available to the general public.

“It is equally clear that airlines will need to absorb the costs within their business models,” the regulations state.

While it is not our job to judge who is telling the truth —the airline or the bishop — it is clear that the airline handled the whole situation very badly.

Surely a swift apology and a promise to do better in future would have settled the matter once and for all.