By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, ETN Africa Correspondent
Jimmy Kibati is joining the airline as the new General Manager East Africa effective March 17. He last served as Acting Commercial Director for Kenya Airways (KQ) for the past year.
Jimmy started his aviation career fresh out of Kenyatta University with Kenya Airways in 1992, and notably served as Country Manager for Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi for a while, based in Kampala. He left Kenya Airways in 2005 to join Virgin Nigeria at the time as Head of Network Planning before rising to the position of Chief Commercial Officer. In 2010 Jimmy Kibati returned to Kenya Airways as Head of Network Planning and Airline Strategy, where he oversaw the development of “Plan Mawingo,” Kenya Airways’ strategic plan covering the immediate future until 2022, which outlines the near tripling of the present fleet from 45 aircraft to 119 aircraft and the near doubling of destinations from presently 65 to 115, then covering all parts of the world.
Jimmy Kibati was appointed Acting Commercial Director when the position fell vacant in late 2012 but decided to leave Kenya Airways to join fast rising FastJet, when KQ recruited a new Commercial Director recently.
Jimmy Kibati will for the time being be based in Dar es Salaam, from where the airline presently flies to 4 domestic destinations, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Zanzibar and Mbeya and two international destinations, Johannesburg and Lusaka.
Ed Winter, CEO of FastJet based in London, when making the announcement was quoted to have said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have recruited such a high caliber airline executive to spearhead FastJet’s expansion in East Africa. Jimmy’s vast experience in the East African aviation market will be invaluable as we fulfill our goal of becoming a truly pan-African low cost airline. Jimmy’s appointment underlines the confidence which FastJet’s track record has generated within the industry.”
With his wealth of experience, and the insight into Kenya Airways’ strategy, which arguably includes the plans of in-house LCC upstart JamboJet, the deck of aviation cards in the region is being reshuffled and will make for interesting days ahead for aviation pundits and observes. Congratulations to Jimmy Kibati on his new appointment and all the best for the challenges ahead.