By Prudence Minayo
The demand for choppers has drastically increased during this electioneering period. Politicians are using choppers to fly to multiple destinations for the purpose of campaigns. They prefer choppers to other air travel modes due to their ease in landing.
The cost of hiring private planes has increased due to inflation in fuel prices. In January this year, the cost of jet fuel was Sh100 per litre before going up by Sh136. This rise in fuel prices has led firms hiring out planes to increase the prices. The Value Added Tax for hiring choppers has also increased to 14% further contributing to the high prices.
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The executive secretary of Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) Eutychus Waithaka told BusinessDaily of the new charges:
“Private aviation firms are adjusting the cost at which we are leasing out helicopters simply because jet fuel prices have gone up. There is also the introduction of taxes that were previously waived or exempted for the aviation sector”
Prices per Aviation company
Aerosim Private Air
This is a Nairobi-based charter firm that leases out five-seater choppers with their target clients being politicians. In April, the company was charged Sh189,856 per hour which has since gone up to Sh225,454 per hour, a 19 percent increase. If 14 VAT is included, the amount goes up to USD2,204 (Sh261,528) per hour.
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This is a charter and helicopter company based in Nanyuki.
Tropic Air used to charge Sh296,650 per hour but is currently charging Sh332,248 for a five-seater chopper. This accounts to a 12% increase from what they were charging three months ago.
The price of hiring a six seater went from Sh307,658 per hour in April to Sh709,800, a Kshs130 percent increase.
Bella Aviation is a charter company based in Wilson Airport that operates between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
The price of hiring a five-seater chopper at Bella Aviation has increased by 17% from Sh213,210 per hour three months ago to Sh248,745 per hour. The prices are exclusive of VAT. The company has attributed this increase to the high number of politicians traveling across the country for campaigns.