East African Safari Air is an airline based in Kenya. Its international operations were suspended in September 2004, but the airline has still scheduled regional and domestic services thorugh its subsidiary East African Safari Air Express.
At the time of incorporation of Car Hire Services (Aviation) limited the shareholders were Mr. Kegode, M/s William Henry Boyd Parkinson, Pritam Singh Panesar and Samuel Gakuru. On the 27th November 1990 Mr. Mohammed Aslam Khan was appointed Managing Director of CHS Aviation, and in December 1990 East African Safari Air (then CHS Aviation) was granted a license from the Civil Aviation Board to operate Scheduled and Coach services to the Maasai Mara. Additionally, CHS Aviation operated 2 Cessna 310s 1 Cessna 402B and 1 Cessna 402B. In 1990 East African Safari Air then CHS Aviation borrowed US$ 247,000 from Barclays Bank Kenya and purchased a De-Havilland Twin Otter from Sataircraft in Denmark registration 5Y-KEG (after the first three letters of the founder’s last name KEGODE) and leased it to Air Kenya Aviation Ltd. This aircraft was later sold to Air Kenya Aviation in 1998.
In 1992 CHS Aviation became the first privately owned Kenyan carrier, if not in the East African region, to be licensed by the Kenya Civil Aviation Board to operate charter flights to and from South Africa to Mombasa using a Boeing 707 aircraft.
12th November 1992 CHS Aviation was licensed by the Kenya Civil Aviation Board and the Italian Civil Aviation Authorities to operate charter flights to and from Italy and Mombasa. CHS aviation flew from Milan to Mombasa wet leasing two Boeing 767 300 ER from Air Europe Spa. As East African Safari Air the company ferried 1,320,000 tourist passengers to and from Italy to Kenya between 1992 to 2002.
In October 1992 there was an ownership change and the Managing Director Aslam Khan left CHS Aviation to start his own charter company Aircraft Leasing Services Ltd. In February 1993 CHS Aviation was granted permission to operate charter flights from Nairobi to Paris and Mombasa to Paris. CHS Aviation used an MD82 of 167 pax to operate the route twice a week. In October 1993 CHS Aviation added two Cessna Caravans and a King Air 200B to is general aviation fleet, to provide charter services to Southern Sudan for the SPLA. At the end of October 1993 CHS Aviation had three Cessna Caravans, and two King Air 200Bs operating flights to Southern Sudan. In February 1998 Anthony Kegode and Uhai Ltd bought out all the shares of WHB Parkinson and PS Panesar. Uhai Ltd was then owned 100% by Anthony Kegode and Elizabeth Kegode.
When the company later changed its name to East African Safari Air Limited on the 27th of February 1998, it saw the exist of the other founder shareholders, with Uhai Limited and Mr. Kegode acquiring 100% of the shares of East African Safari Air. Mr. Pritam Singh Panesar remaining on the board of the company as a non-shareholding Director; by a special resolution passed on the 2nd of July 1998, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Kegode was appointed as a member of East African Safari Air, Anthony Kegode became the carriers’ Executive Chairman.
In 1998 East African Safari Air applied to the Kenya Government and was the first privately owned local airline to be granted designation on Bilateral Air Service Agreements to all COMESA Countries, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The company was also granted permits to operate scheduled flights to Mombasa, Lokkichoggio, and Kisumu from Nairobi.
In or about the year 2001, East African Safari Air acquired all (99%) but one of the shares in Flying Jetpet (Kenya) limited which was incorporated as Company No. c. 82314. The said company later changed its name to East African Safari Air Express Limited. In 2001 East African Safari Air acquired 99% East African Safari Air Express Limited with Anthony Kegode still holding 1% of the company.
In 2003 East African Safari Air began operating international, and reginal designated routes, local scheduled and other charter flights, using two Boeing 767 300ERs and two F28 -4000.
East African Safari Air Express purchased Eagle Aviations’ two F28-4000 aircraft by a Conditional Sale Agreement dated 30th April 2003 from Aircraft Services Corporation (“ACS”) based in Ireland, a subsidiary of General Electric Aviation Capital (“GECAS”)
Prior to the execution of the agreement Aircraft Services Corporation entered into an early termination accord with M/s Eagle Aviation Limited concluding an earlier contract between the parties to facilitate the sale of aircrafts Registration No Fokker 28-4000 Serial No 11229 and Fokker 28-4000 Serial No 11231 to East African Safari Air Express.
Fast growth saw the airline run into cash flow problems and in late 2003 East African Safari Air started to search for investors. In May 2004 Mr. Adam Ogden through Two Ninety Investments Limited approached East African Safari Air Express with an interest to invest in the company.
On the 7th December 2003 the aircraft Fokker F28-4000 5Y – NNN was involved in an accident at Lokichoggio Airport, Kenya.
In late 2003, as the operations of East African Safari Air (the parent of East African Safari Air Express) experiences unrelenting cash flow problems. This was due to the company’s decision to operate five flights per week to London Heathrow from Nairobi. East African Safari Air entered into a joint venture agreement with British Midlands International (BMI) airlines. Although East African Safari Air was the first to introduce daytime flights out of Nairobi to London, and direct flights to the resort holiday town of Mombasa, other major airlines quickly followed suit. At first, the difficulty in establishing strong traffic numbers was forcing the company to operate near empty flights to and from Heathrow. Gradually however, the numbers carried began to steadily increase. Unfortunately the months by which the route was being built and traffic was uneconomical had taken their toll. East African Safari Air had accumulated nearly US$ 24,000,000/= in debt.
At this stage however passenger traffic had steadily gained in numbers, and the forward bookings in mid 2004 showed that all the airline’s flights would operate at strong load factors and have enough business to trade out its crushing debt. In early 2004 it was decided that the company would benefit from the injection of investment capital from the outside. To this end, Mr. Ogden who was well known to the largest shareholders of the company, Mr. and Mrs. Kegode, introduced a company by the name of Four Ninety Investments Limited willing to invest US$ 6,000,000/=
An agreement prepared by Four Ninety’s lawyers Walker Kontos advocates to the effect that, interalia, East African Safari Air was insolvent and that Four Ninety would only pay Ksh 5/= for a 90% stake in the company, but invest enough cash to take the company out of insolvency. The agreement left Anthony A Kegode with only 10% interest in the company and also saw to it that Mr. Kegode was to be bound by way of personal guarantees for 100% of the loans the company had hitherto taken. “As much as I felt the arrangement was inequitable, I was at pains to salvage the company, and since the strategy of Four Ninety in the run up to this final agreement had left us with no other choices to save the business, we were inclined to proceed with the sale for the sake of the company’s survival.” said Mr. Kegode East African Safari Air Shareholders passed minority rights and approved the agreement selling 90% shares to Four Ninety and leaving the founder with 10% shareholding in the company on the 4th June 2004. Mr Adam Ogden thereafter took over the management of the company's operations. On the 13th September 2004, whilst nearly four months under Mr. Ogden's stewardship, East African Safari Air and East African Safari Air Express were placed in receivership, after only US$ 2,000,000/= was purpotedly paid in by Four Ninety Investments Limited, only one third of the US$ 6,000,000/= required for the airline's recovery needs. At that time the airlines were ferrying approx 25,000 passengers per month on their various routes. East African Safari Air Express has since re-emerged from receivership and is currently operating scheduled regional and domestic services.