Kenya is home to some of the wealthiest individuals in the African continent. This is thanks to the fast-growing economy with steady growth across various economic sectors.
The accumulation of wealth comes with an appeal for certain luxuries. Well if you can afford it, why not? While some spend their money on expensive automobiles, some splash their hard-earned millions on airlines.
In this article, WoK takes a look at some of the Kenyans who own airline companies.
Mohamed Abdi and Issack Somow
The two own Skyward Express, a premier charter company in the East African aviation industry.
The company began operations with a Fokker 50 (accommodates 110 passengers) and had destinations in neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia.
According to the airline’s website, it aspires to connect East Africa to the rest of the world.
Skyward Express was founded two pilots; Captain Mohamed Abdi, who is the company chairman and Issack Somow, who is its former Managing Director.
The businessman was once a casual labourer who delivered Christmas posts while still a student in college.
During school holidays, he would sell newspapers and also dig trenches for a local company all to make an extra buck.
The businessman owns 748 Air Services Company. It was founded in 1994 as part of an initiative to supply aid to Sudan when the country was affected by civil war.
The company was initially founded with the mission of delivering aid and supplies to Sudan but has since diversified to include passenger and other cargo services.
Jibril has remained active in the operation of the airline since 1994.
The businessman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Nairobi and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
The company has since devised strategies and developed a fleet of aircrafts comprising Ksh214million Cessna Caravans and Ksh369 million Dash8-100.
He is the CEO of Fly540 Kenya. Smith founded the company in 2005 alongside the current Operations Director Nixon Ooko. The two boast a combined 50 years of experience in the aviation industry.
The company began operations towards the end of 2006 with Nairobi to Mombasa as its maiden route. The company has since expanded to fly to various destinations across East Africa.
It is among the largest airlines in the region and has been hailed on a number of occasions for its contributions to the region’s economy.
Yusuf and associates
The company owns Bluebird Aviation Kenya. It opened its doors in 1992 and set out to become the most reliable provider of customized aviation solutions.
Today, Bluebird Aviation has grown into one of the leading air charter companies in the region, catering for not only the humanitarian sector but private and government institutions as well.
“One of our major strengths is the hands-on experience of each senior executive at Bluebird Aviation, from maintenance to airline management, from engineering to aircraft financing. As such, we are able to offer a vast array of solutions to the often complex and challenging aviation industry,” the company states on its website.
The Wilson Airport-based airline is co-owned by Yusuf Adan and three executives among them, Hussein Farah, Unshur Mohamed and Mohamed Abdikadir.
The four had been recently embroiled in a court battle after Yusuf sued his partners over alleged financial malpractices.
However, High Court by Justice Alfred Mabeya, dismissed the case, after establishing the accusations were untrue.
A past report by Nation indicates that Yusuf, is a billionaire miraa trader who owns various properties such as Yala Towers and Lenana Towers.
Captain Abdullahi Hassan
He is arguably the youngest airline owner in the country. He is the owner of I-fly Air Ltd. The airline offers scheduled flights to Mandera and chartered flights to other destinations like Ukunda and Lamu.
Growing up in Wajir, it was impossible to imagine that he would one day own his own airplanes. Hassan has demonstrated that your destiny is in your own hands.
Captain Hassan served as an Air Traffic Controller for the Air Force. He later went on to work for Skyward Express.
He later 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.