TCB’s Miscellaneous Ramblings – August-September 2015

Posted on July 31st, 2015
Categories: News

TCBTCB’s Miscellaneous Ramblings – August-September 2015

The new security regime at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is something else. I’m all for a secure environment, but this is over-kill, with due apologies for the K-word.

On arrival at the airport, more the entrance to it, while still in your car, you are greeted with what seems to be a state-of-the-art all singing all dancing security apparatus – it certainly looks very high-tech. Evidently it does the business, it scans your car from the underside plus there is a side-scan – it is all seeing I’m told. However there is a major fly in the ointment. Evidently it only scans cars, their contents and the driver. All passengers must exit, cross over 5-6 lanes of busy traffic to be hand frisked by security personnel. You then re-join your vehicle on the other side. Whole busloads of passengers together with your guests traipse across causing more mayhem and major back-ups on both sides of the car screening. At night this is pretty scary, as the area is not very well lit. An accident looking for a place to happen guaranteed!

Tell me why the driver is good to go without being frisked but the passengers are not?

What do all our business investors, tourists and the like think of this Mickey Mouse scenario? I’m all for security, but done properly and in an orderly and understandable fashion.

Update….update….update: I just came back from JKIA post-Obama, no out of car experience for my passenger, just a cursory flashlight check of the cars interior before going into the screening process. A blip in the system or the realisation that the screening process is fully inclusive? Pray tell? 

Talking of President Obama’s visit to Kenya, the country of his father’s birth – what a breath of fresh air! His speech to the people of Kenya from Kasarani was inspiring, hard hitting and in the main factually correct. I was in awe, massive delivery and a 40-minute address without notes – what a presence!

Nairobi looked fabulous, all scrubbed up and shining, flags-a-flying and no traffic – everyone it seems stayed home or went away for the duration of his stay in Kenya. Just shows what we can do, when we want to.

His visit will I’m sure, given its international coverage, show the world that Kenya is a progressive nation that is going places and getting there at a fair clip. International investors find the country an attractive proposition, and from that will come the return of our traditional tourist markets.

The migration has started and lodges and camps in the Masai Mara are reporting brisk business through until the end of August.

Those that know tell me getting Kenya back into international tour operator’s brochures is at best a two-year exercise – 2017/18.

Lufthansa Group’s Brussels Airlines stops flying into Nairobi from September to be replaced by its owner with five flights a week to/from Frankfurt using Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Brussels Airlines will however continue to serve Entebbe, Kigali and Bujumbura. China Southern Airlines has launched three weekly flights from Shanghai to Nairobi, which in conjunction with fellow Sky Team member Kenya Airways offers massive capacity on the Kenya – China route. Fuelled by the massive Chinese adventure in Africa.

Going back to security at JKIA – on departing from any of the international terminal buildings (1A/B/C) there is a security check, bags and self scanned – belts removed, thankfully not shoes. You then proceed to baggage drop and immigration. There is further screening prior to boarding your aircraft, this is because at JKIA arriving and departing passengers are not segregated and this poses a perceived security risk.

However in the new terminal 1A there is extra security check just before you go through immigration. This is no more than 50-metres from the security as you enter the terminal, with only the check-in counters between the two.

What is this all about?

Crazy times, which led to a very frustrated TCB dropping his laptop at the third screening area of said terminal 1A. A few choice words later, I fired up the laptop, nada – the screen staring blankly back at me. No worries I thought, I was on my way to the big modern world. I was wrong. Mr. Apple telling me that anything over 5-years old is considered obsolete, they didn’t want to know. Not something they tell you when you buy one of their products.

Lucky dip on the Internet found me sending the laptop to somewhere in the Manchester area, Eccles to be exact, isn’t that the place the cakes come from? Blind faith without doubt, but driven by desperation of it went, I half expected never to see it again. Worse yet it would be hacked and personal information used to empty my meagre bank account.

Looks can be deceptive, it looked shady, it felt shady, it even smelt shady (well, you know what I mean). But it was impressively efficient – screen replaced and returned to me within five working days – the most impressive part was the price. For less than the price of a new replacement screen online – I assume mine is second hand, but who cares it flies.

So much more to say, so little space left. Until next time…..

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