Joseph Kairo Wambui, popularly known as Khalif Kairo, is no stranger in Kenya. He is known for his thriving car dealership business, Kai and Karo.
However, the young entrepreneur recently made headlines by venturing into the aviation industry.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
In August, Kairo launched Jetman Global, a company that leases and sells aircraft and also offers other aircraft solutions like leasing and consultancy.
He announced the news on his Twitter page:
“Am pleased to announce the birth of our new firm @jetmanglobal. Jetman is powered by @kai_and_karo and will be an aircraft brokerage firm (sourcing & selling) other products we intend to introduce in the Kenyan market include fractional aircraft ownership and aircraft management services,”
This pivot from cars to planes marks a groundbreaking milestone in his entrepreneurial journey.
However, as he explained in a recent interview with Youtuber Phil Director, the transition to planes was not a mere spur-of-the-moment decision for Kairo.
It stemmed from a deep-rooted passion that traces back to his childhood.
His fascination with aviation sprouted during nursery school trips to Wilson Airport, where he found himself captivated by the majestic allure of planes.
He was further inspired by TID, a Tanzanian musician.
“TID released a song called Siamini in 2002. In the music video, he takes his girlfriend for a date to Zanzibar in a plane. I remember watching that song in 2003 and telling myself I want to be that guy,” said Kairo, who drives a Porsche.
By the time he was in class 8, you would often find him at the community library in Kawangware pouring over encyclopaedias, reading about planes and how they work.
His ambition only grew stronger during high school, leading him to declare a resolute intent: to either become a pilot or a lawyer.
However, Kairo’s vision goes beyond personal aspirations; it’s about introducing and nurturing an aviation culture in Kenya.
“I felt that there are other Kenyans like me who share the same interest in planes. I feel there is an untapped aviation culture in Kenya that I feel I have been tasked by God to bring into fruition,” he said.
He added that he envisions a scenario where Kenyans can embrace the idea of owning or leasing small planes for family holidays or group trips, reshaping travel dynamics.
He explained that although the concept of introducing planes to the Kenyan market might be complex, it’s common in countries like South Africa.
He added that should the aviation culture be successful in Kenya, it would open up a new frontier that will encompass mechanics, spare parts dealers, and other players.
“It’s a new industry that can bring Kenya a lot of money,” he said.
According to Kairo, the transition from cars to planes has not been without challenges.
As he explained in an interview with Youtuber Lyn Ngugi, it is important that, as an entrepreneur, before you venture into an industry, you at least have a rudimentary knowledge of what you are dealing with.
It was because of that reason that in 2022, he acquired a private pilot license from Flightstar, a flight academy at Wilson airport.
He is currently working on acquiring a commercial pilot license by the end of this year.
When quizzed about his success in business, Kairo credited it to his innovative marketing strategies.
Apparently, as he explained to Director Phil, he uses a marketing strategy called Blitzkrieg, much like the Germans used to overrun the allies in WW2.
“The Germans would first soften the target by bombing them. This would shock the enemy and lower their morale. The Germans would then throw in mechanized units like the infantry and tanks, annihilating the enemy.” Kairo explained.
His Blitzkrieg tactic is that of using video content to captivate his audience across all social media platforms.
His mechanized unit is the aspect of consistency.
“I am so consistent that everyday you wake up you will always find about 30 posts about Kai and Karo,” he said.
Looking ahead, Kairo envisions expanding Kai and Karo across Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.
Additionally, his ambitious dreams include the establishment of an airline.
“I want to introduce the concept of aircraft charters to the general public. I feel there is so much money to be made in this city and that we can optimize this product to fit the mass market,” he said.