Legal and Regulatory Responses Adopted by Kenya to Combat Terrorism in the Aviation Industry


Edna Nyatichi Omweno


Responses to Combat Terrorism, Aviation Industry in Kenya, Legal Responses, Regulatory Responses


Terrorist acts against the civil aviation industry have remained sustained since the first recorded aircraft hijack in February 1931. The devastating effects of a successful terror attack in the aviation industry transcend the jurisdictions of many states, threatening their national and human security. This study sought to analyse the responses to combat terrorism within the aviation industry in Kenya. It employed the exploratory research design. This design is appropriate for a research problem in cases where there are few documented studies for reference. Secondary data was collected from government publications, websites, internal records and reports, conference proceedings, research articles, and books, among others. The data collected was analysed thematically. The findings show that due to the many devastating terrorist attacks in Kenya, a number of legal measures have been progressively initiated to strengthen the security of all aspects of Kenya’s commercial civil aviation against terror attacks. These include the protection of Aircraft Act, 1970 (revised in 2012). Article 2(6) of the Constitution of Kenya provides that any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya. Another Act put in place is The Civil Aviation Act, 2002 (revised 2013), which established the KCAA to regulate and oversee aviation safety and security as guided by the provisions of the Convention on the International Civil Aviation. There is also the Kenya Security Laws Amendment Act, 2014 (Section 75) which provided for the establishment of a mechanism for coordinating counter-terrorism measures in all entry and exit ports in the country. There are also numerous regulatory strategies adopted to combat terrorism in Kenya’s aviation industry. The country has also put in place elaborate regulations on Preventive Security Measures contained in Part IV of the Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations, 2019. Further, the country has instituted the training program with aims to ensure that personnel of all entities involved with or responsible for the implementation of various aspects of aviation security are properly trained on the appropriate standards for tasks in accordance with the national civil aviation security program. The country also undertakes Aviation Security Audits and Reviews.  It can thus be concluded that Kenya has adopted elaborate legal and regulatory responses to combat terrorism in the aviation industry. These have been largely successful in combating aviation terrorism in Kenya. Based on the study findings, there is a need for regular reviews of the various legal and regulatory responses to combatting terrorism in Kenya to enhance their efficacy and responsiveness to the dynamism of international terrorism. Furthermore, the training strategies should be strengthened through increased funding to enhance the domestication of the various legal and regulatory responses in the various aviation security agencies in Kenya. KCAA should also increase the frequency of aviation security audits, inspections, system tests, investigations, and surveys on airports, airlines, cargo agents, and inflight catering operators among others in response to increased sophistication of international terrorism.

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