Captain Abdullahi Hassan: From A Herdsboy In Wajir To Owning Successful Airline

By Prudence Minayo

I-fly Air Ltd is one of Kenya’s growing airlines that offers scheduled flights to Mandera and chartered flights to other destinations like Ukunda and Lamu. At the helm of this airline is Captain Abdullahi Hassan. His story is a true echo of Kipchoge’s sentiments No Man is Limited. Growing up in Wajir, it was impossible to imagine that he would one day own his airplanes. Hassan has demonstrated that your destiny is in your own hands. 

Here is his story as told by WoK


Captain Abdullahi Hassan attended both primary and high school in Wajir county. His entrepreneurial nature would begin to manifest at a very early age. Once, at the age of 8, he boarded a lorry headed to sell goats in Nairobi. His responsibility was to ensure the goats were well spaced to avoid overcrowding in one place. Upon arriving in the city, he was paid Ksh200. He then saw a man selling sugarcane and bought the whole stock at Sh150. Going back home, he sold the sugarcane making a tidy profit. While his father was happy about it, he still insisted he goes back to school.

After completing high school, Abdullahi opened a mini mart with financial support from his father. According to an interview with Churchill, the business which started with an initial capital of Sh30,000 grew to become a big shop worth Sh2 million.

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Joining Air Force 

His life changed when the Kenya Defense Forces was on a recruitment drive in his home county. He applied and managed to secure the one and only air force position available for the people of Wajir.

This is where he fell in love with aviation. He served as an Air Traffic Controller for the Air Force. Captain Abdullahi Hassan’s successful career and the fact that he gave back to his community prompted elders from his constituency to ask him to run for a political seat. 

He resigned intending to run for the parliamentary seat but had a change of heart after meeting skyward express chairman captain Mohamed. He also realized that politics took a lot and at the time he was not ready. He could still serve his people without a political seat. 

The captain asked him to join them and he was appointed flight operations manager, serving in a number of areas. He performed his job well and kept on rising the career ladder.

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At the peak, he tendered his resignation and went after his dream of owning an airline. He then founded I-Fly where he works in partnership with other airlines. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the airspace was closed, I-Fly had begun to command a huge clientele. Instead of quitting, they grew their Somali operations since flights were never suspended in Somali.  They currently offer flights around Kenya and Somali with hopes for future expansions. 

His dream is to own as many airplanes as possible and provide jobs for a number of jobless Kenyans. 

Personal Life 

Captain Abdullahi is married with two children. He credits his wife for being a positive influence in his life and pushing him to achieve greater heights.

Both his parents are alive and live in Wajir town. He is the fourth born in a family of 8 children.