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VIDEO: My dead son’s organs were harvested without my consent in US, says Kenyan woman



A US based Kenyan woman has come out to openly claim that her 22 year old son’s body parts were harvested without her consent, leading to disfigurement of the body, decomposition and  pungent odor emanating from the body – which all have caused “my family and I untold emotional distress.”

Perpetual Wanjiru Wambugu, who lives in Indiana, is now appealing for any form of  help after the courts dismissed her motion in which she stated that the actions of the staff at the funeral home where her son’s remains were preserved before being transported to Kenya for burial, have continued to cause her emotional distress.

Court documents seen by Kenya Satellite News Network (KSN) indicate that on July 18, 2012, twenty-two-year-old Kelvin drowned in a swimming pool at an apartment complex located in Mishawaka, Indiana. Perpetual and her twin sons relocated from Kenya to the US in 2009, first settling down in Illinois and later moving to Indiana.

On July 19, 2012, an autopsy was conducted by the South Bend Medical Foundation (“SBMF”), which determined that her son’s death was due to “accidental drowning.”

However, Kevin’s mother had her reservations as she explained here account of events  in a recent interview with Kikuyu Diaspora Television posted further down.

The court documents also detail how, on July 20, 2012, Perpetual hired Palmer to embalm Kelvin’s body, supply a casket, provide a funeral visitation at Palmer in South Bend, and arrange for Kelvin’s remains to be transported to Kenya where a second funeral service was to be held and the burial was to take place. After the autopsy was completed, Kelvin’s body was transported to Palmer. Problems arose, however, when the Funeral Home Director tried to embalm Kelvin.

During the autopsy, Kelvin’s carotid arteries were cut in a fashion that made them unavailable for use for traditional embalming methods. This made it difficult to supply embalming fluid to Kelvin’s face and head. It was determined that a topical preservation gel would be applied to Kelvin’s face.

“When Perpetual and John (Kevin’s twin brother) viewed the body at the funeral visitation at Palmer, they were unhappy with the way Kelvin looked because his face showed signs of discoloration due to dehydration that was caused by the gel,” states the court filing. After seeing his brother’s body at the visitation, the documents state, John chose not to view the body again.

In 2017, the Appeal Court of Indiana affirmed a judgment in favor of Palmer Funeral Homes Inc. on Perpetual Wambugu and John Mwangi’s claims for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress that resulted from viewing the remains of Kelvin Mwangi.

“The court finds Wambugu and Mwangi waived their argument as to the admission of evidence of intervening cause by failing to object at trial. Also finds that waiver notwithstanding, the St. Joseph Superior Court properly instructed the jury on intervening cause,” says the ruling.

Here is Perpetual Wambugu’s account [Graphic details. Viewer discretion is advised] as she speaks to KDTV’s Jeremy Damaris (in Gikuyu langauge) :


Below is a reproduction of  Indiana’s Court of Appeal findings:

Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 1 of 14
Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D),
this Memorandum Decision shall not be
regarded as precedent or cited before any
court except for the purpose of establishing
the defense of res judicata, collateral
estoppel, or the law of the case.
Richard J. LaSalvia
South Bend, Indiana
Daniel W. Glavin
Schererville, Indiana
Perpetual Wambugu, as Personal
Representative of the Estate of
Kelvin Mwangi, et al.,
Palmer Funeral Homes, Inc.,
August 17, 2017
Court of Appeals Case No.
Appeal from the St. Joseph
Superior Court
The Honorable Steven L.
Hostetler, Judge
Trial Court Cause No.
Barnes, Judge.
Case Summary
[1] Perpetual Wambugu and John Mwangi appeal the jury verdict and subsequent
judgment in favor of Palmer Funeral Homes, Inc. (“Palmer”) on Perpetual and
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 2 of 14
John’s claims for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress that
resulted from viewing the remains of Kelvin Mwangi (Perpetual’s son and
John’s twin brother).
We affirm.
[2] The issues raised for review, as restated, are:
I. whether the trial court properly allowed evidence of
intervening cause; and
II. whether the trial court properly instructed the jury on
intervening cause.
[3] Perpetual is Kelvin’s mother, and John is Kelvin’s twin brother. On July 18,
2012, twenty-two-year-old Kelvin drowned in a swimming pool at an apartment
complex located in Mishawaka. On July 19, 2012, an autopsy was conducted
by the South Bend Medical Foundation (“SBMF”), which determined that
Kelvin’s death was due to an accidental drowning.
[4] On July 20, 2012, Perpetual hired Palmer to embalm Kelvin’s body, supply a
casket, provide a funeral visitation at Palmer in South Bend, and arrange for
Kelvin’s remains to be transported to Kenya where a second funeral service was

1 Daniel Kabui (Kelvin’s friend) and the Estate of Kelvin Mwangi were plaintiffs in the trial court case;
however, they have not joined this appeal.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 3 of 14
to be held and the burial was to take place. After the autopsy was completed,
Kelvin’s body was transported to Palmer. Problems arose, however, when the
funeral director tried to embalm Kelvin. During the autopsy, Kelvin’s carotid
arteries were cut in a fashion that made them unavailable for use for traditional
embalming methods. This made it difficult to supply embalming fluid to
Kelvin’s face and head. It was determined that a topical preservation gel would
be applied to Kelvin’s face.
[5] When Perpetual and John viewed Kelvin’s body at the funeral visitation at
Palmer, they were unhappy with the way Kelvin looked because Kelvin’s face
showed signs of discoloration due to dehydration that was caused by the gel.
After seeing his brother’s body at the visitation, John chose not to view his
brother’s body again.
[6] Once the visitation at Palmer concluded, Kelvin’s body was placed inside of a
metal case. The case was placed inside of a casket that was locked and then
transported to Kenya. Palmer provided Perpetual with a key to the casket.
[7] Perpetual and John traveled to Kenya and received Kelvin’s body from
customs. Perpetual was required to use the key to open the casket to prove that
the casket belonged to her. The casket then was transported to the Kenyatta
University Funeral Home (“Kenyatta”) in Nairobi. Perpetual use the key to
open the casket at Kenyatta, and a foul odor emanated. Perpetual viewed her
son’s body at Kenyatta, and the body appeared to be decomposing.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 4 of 14
[8] Kenyatta performed some work on Kelvin’s body, and the body then was
transferred to another funeral home located in a town outside of Nairobi.
When the body arrived at the second funeral home, Perpetual again used the
key to open the casket. She saw that her son’s body was severely decomposed.
Perpetual fainted and was removed from the funeral home.
[9] On July 17, 2013, the plaintiffs2
filed a complaint against Palmer, alleging
negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs alleged
that Palmer engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct related to the
embalming and preservation of Kelvin’s body and that, as a result of Palmer’s
actions, Perpetual, John, and Daniel Kabui suffered emotional distress.
[10] Palmer filed its answer and affirmative defenses to the plaintiffs’ complaint and
named SBMF as a nonparty. After leave of the trial court, the plaintiffs filed an
amended complaint adding SBMF as a party defendant. SBMF filed a motion
for summary judgment, which the trial court granted as to all claims asserted by
the plaintiffs.
[11] On April 7, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion in limine, asking the trial court to
exclude any evidence or mention by Palmer that SBMF was the proximate
cause of the plaintiffs’ damages as a nonparty or for any other purposes. On
June 28, 2016, the trial court granted the plaintiffs’ motion in limine as to

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In this appeal, “plaintiffs” refers to Perpetual Wambugu, John Mwangi, the Estate of Kelvin Mwangi, and
Daniel Kabui, the parties to the trial court case.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 5 of 14
evidence of fault allocation as to SBMF, but denied the motion as to evidence
of the actions of SBMF as to proximate cause.
[12] On August 17, 2016, the trial court signed and filed the pretrial order. In the
order, Palmer set forth in its contentions:
At no time did Palmer Funeral Homes act intentionally or
negligently to cause harm to [p]laintiffs. Palmer Funeral Homes
contends it acted with reasonable care under very difficult
circumstances created by the conduct of the South Bend Medical
Foundation and denies it is liable to plaintiffs. The South Bend
Medical Foundation’s failure to leave sufficient carotid arteries
during its autopsy prevented Palmer from infusing Kelvin
Mwangi’s remains conventionally and caused very difficult
circumstances which Palmer used reasonable care to overcome.
Palmer’s actions fell within the standard of care imposed on
funeral directors or embalmers under the law. . . .
Appellants’ App. Vol. III p. 29.
[13] Prior to the start of the trial, which took place August 23-26, 2016, the plaintiffs
orally renewed their written motion in limine to exclude evidence or any
mention of proximate cause as to SBMF. The trial court again denied the
motion. The plaintiffs also orally moved for a motion in limine as to any
reference to, or evidence of, Kenyatta’s actions “being a cause or an intervening
cause of plaintiffs’ injuries.” Tr. Vol. II p. 39. The basis of the oral motion was
that Palmer failed to set out in its contentions in the final pretrial order any
issues of Kenyatta’s actions being an intervening cause and that Palmer failed to
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 6 of 14
raise as an affirmative defense in its answer the issue of intervening cause as to
Kenyatta. The trial court denied the oral motion in limine regarding Kenyatta.
[14] Following the presentation of evidence, final jury instructions were provided.
The following final jury instruction on intervening cause was provided to the
jury over the plaintiffs’ objection:
Sometimes an unrelated event breaks the connection between a
defendant’s negligent action and the injury a plaintiff claims to
have suffered. If this event was not reasonably foreseeable, it is
called an ‘intervening cause.’
When an intervening cause breaks the connection between a
defendant’s negligent act and a plaintiff’s injury, a defendant’s
negligent act is no longer a ‘responsible cause’ of that plaintiff’s
Tr. Vol. IV p. 223. The plaintiffs had objected to the instruction when it was
proposed on the basis that the proposed jury instruction was “[n]ot supported
by the evidence,” was “waived as to the previous motion in limine at the start
of the trial,” was “[w]aived in the [pretrial] order,” and was “not . . . raised as
an affirmative defense in the answer.” Id. at 154. The plaintiffs also argued
that Kenyatta’s actions were “not a true intervening cause.” Id. at 155.
[15] Following the trial, the jury found in favor of Palmer. Palmer did not seek
damages, and the jury did not award any monies to Palmer. Judgment was
entered on September 6, 2016. Perpetual and John now appeal.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 7 of 14
I. Admission of Evidence
[16] Perpetual and John argue that the trial court erred in allowing at trial evidence
of intervening cause. However, we first determine whether Perpetual and John
waived their argument as to the admission of evidence of intervening cause by
failing to object at trial. According to Palmer, Perpetual and John did not
preserve the issue for this court’s review because they failed to object at trial to
the admission of the evidence. We agree.
[17] The theory Palmer presented at trial was that the Kenyatta employees’ act of
showing Kelvin’s remains to Perpetual, without first taking steps to make the
body presentable after having been shipped from Chicago to Nairobi, was
“unforeseeable conduct” that constituted “an intervening cause, breaking the
chain of causation resulting from Palmer’s purported negligence.” Appellee’s
Br. p. 6. Palmer’s specific argument was:
When embalmed remains are shipped, which is a common
occurrence in the funeral business, it is universally known in the
field that the receiving funeral home must take steps to ‘clean up’
the remains before they are viewed by the decedent’s family . . .
because, during shipment, the remains are jostled and are in an
unpressurized cargo hold. As a result, there can be leakage, the
development of mold, or an odor.
Id. The Palmer funeral director and an expert hired by Palmer testified to this
without objection. They further testified, without objection, that “there are
commonly used techniques which could have been employed to cure the
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 8 of 14
problems . . . , and if these commonly used techniques had been employed, the
remains would not have been in the state which caused Perpetual the emotional
distress she claimed as a result of seeing them.” Id.
[18] According to Perpetual and John, the issue of intervening cause was preserved
for this court’s review because they argued at trial that a motion in limine
should be granted and the evidence excluded. In support of their argument,
they cite Indiana Evidence Rule 103(b) which reads: “Once the court rules
definitively on the record at trial a party need not renew an objection or offer of
proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.”
[19] Because a motion in limine is not a final ruling on the admissibility of evidence,
a ruling on the motion does not preserve the error for appeal. Watson v.
State, 972 N.E.2d 378, 386 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012). In order to preserve an error
for appellate review, a party must do more than challenge the ruling on
a motion in limine. Hollowell v. State, 753 N.E.2d 612, 615 (Ind. 2001). Absent
either a ruling admitting evidence accompanied by a timely objection or a
ruling excluding evidence accompanied by a proper offer of proof, there is no
basis for a claim of error. Id.; see Ind. Evidence Rule 103(a) (“[a] party may
claim error in a ruling to admit evidence only if the error affects a substantial
right of the party and: (1) . . . a party, on the record: (A) timely objects . . .; and
(B) states the specific ground, unless it was apparent from the context”).
[20] The record demonstrates that, prior to the start of the trial, Perpetual and John
made oral motions in limine to exclude evidence as to SBMF and Kenyatta
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 9 of 14
being intervening causes of Perpetual and John’s emotional distress. The trial
court denied the motions. At trial, when Palmer introduced evidence of
intervening cause, Perpetual and John did not object.3
We, therefore, must
conclude that Perpetual and John have not preserved the issue of admissibility
of intervening cause evidence for our review.
[21] Waiver notwithstanding, even if Perpetual and John had properly preserved
their challenge to the admission of the intervening cause evidence, we find that
the trial court properly admitted the evidence of intervening cause and properly
instructed the jury thereon. The admission and exclusion of evidence falls
within the sound discretion of the trial court, and we review
the admission of evidence only for an abuse of discretion. Reed v. Bethel, 2
N.E.3d 98, 107 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014). An abuse of discretion occurs when the
trial court’s decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and
circumstances before it. Id. We will not reverse the trial court’s admission of
evidence absent a showing of prejudice. Id.
[22] Perpetual and John argue that the trial court abused its discretion when it
allowed evidence of intervening cause because intervening cause was an
affirmative defense that Palmer waived by failing to plead it as a defense.

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3 During Palmer’s direct examination of its funeral director, Perpetual and John objected when Palmer’s
counsel asked the funeral director, “Given your years of service and your experience and your training,
would you have expected the staff at the Kenyatta Mortuary to open Kelvin’s casket in front of Perpetual
Wambugu?” Appellee’s Br. p. 8. Perpetual and John initially objected on grounds there was “[n]o
foundation as to what she’s aware of, what’s permitted or what is the standard in Kenya.” Id. However, the
objection was withdrawn.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 10 of 14
According to Perpetual and John, Palmer “did not reserve the nonparty defense
either by raising the issue when South Bend Medical Foundation was granted
summary judgment or by naming Kenyatta as a nonparty for allocation of
fault.” Appellants’ Br. p. 15. However, Perpetual and John confuse Palmer’s
intervening cause argument with a nonparty defense.
[23] Indiana Trial Rule 8(C) states that responsive pleadings shall set forth
affirmatively all affirmative defenses. See Ind. Trial Rule 8(C) (listing as
examples, “accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, discharge in
bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by
fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds,
statute of limitations, waiver, lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter, lack of
jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process or service
of process, the same action pending in another state court of this state, and any
other matter constituting an avoidance, matter of abatement, or affirmative
defense”). Failure to do so results in waiver. Molargik v. West Enterprises, Inc.,
605 N.E.2d 1197, 1199 (Ind. Ct. App. 1993).
[24] Indiana’s Comparative Fault Act, which allocates damages among the parties
according to their respective negligence, provides that “[i]n an action based on
fault, a defendant may assert as a defense that the damages of the claimant were
caused in full or in part by a nonparty.” Ind. Code § 34-51-2-14. The burden of
proof of a nonparty defense is upon the defendant, who must affirmatively
plead the defense. I.C. § 34-51-2-15. The defendant also has the burden of
identifying the nonparty to whom fault should be attributed. McDillon v. N.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 11 of 14
Indiana Pub. Serv. Co., 812 N.E.2d 152, 156 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), transfer granted,
opinion vacated (Dec. 20, 2004), opinion aff’d in part, vacated in part on other
grounds, 841 N.E.2d 1148 (Ind. 2006). If the nonparty is not identified, then
the jury may not assign fault against the nonparty. Id.
[25] Palmer did not assert a nonparty defense, did not identify SBMF or Kenyatta as
nonparties to whom fault should be attributed, and did not ask the jury to
allocate fault to Kenyatta in its verdict. Palmer did, however, present evidence
of intervening cause to show that it was not the proximate cause of Perpetual
and John’s emotional distress. Intervening cause is not one of the defenses
listed in Rule 8(C). However, it was an integral part of the proximate cause
analysis of Perpetual and John’s negligent and intentional infliction of
emotional distress claims.
See, e.g., National Market Share, Inc. v. Sterling Nat.
Bank, 392 F.3d 520, 526-27 (2004) (holding that intervening cause in underlying
case was not an affirmative defense because intervening cause was integral part
of proximate cause analysis in breach of contract/breach of duty of good faith
and fair dealing action); cf. Jarrell v. Monsanto Co., 528 N.E.2d 1158, 1163-64
(Ind. Ct. App. 1988) (holding that genuine issues of material fact precluded
grant of summary judgment on negligence claim and referring to “contributory

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4 To prove negligent infliction of emotional distress, Perpetual and John were required to show that: (1)
Palmer was negligent; (2) Perpetual and John were directly involved in or impacted by an incident related to
Palmer’s negligence; (3) Perpetual and John suffered serious emotional distress of the type a reasonable
person would expect to occur; and (4) Palmer’s negligence was a responsible cause of Perpetual and John’s
emotional distress. Tr. Vol. IV p. 219. The elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress
are that the defendant: (1) engages in extreme and outrageous conduct (2) which intentionally or recklessly
(3) causes (4) severe emotional distress to another. Cullison v. Medley, 570 N.E.2d 27, 31 (Ind. 1991).
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 12 of 14
negligence and intervening negligence” as affirmative defenses) (footnote
omitted), trans. denied. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing
evidence of intervening cause.
II. Jury Instructions
[26] As for Perpetual and John’s contention that the trial court abused its discretion
when it instructed the jury on intervening cause because the instruction is not
supported by the evidence and “invited the jury to consider the fault of a
nonparty,” we disagree. Appellants’ Br. p. 22. The purpose of a jury
instruction is to inform the jury of the law applicable to the facts without
misleading the jury and to enable it to comprehend the case clearly and arrive at
a just, fair, and correct verdict. Dill v. State, 741 N.E.2d 1230, 1232 (Ind. 2001).
Instruction of the jury is left to the sound judgment of the trial court and will
not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. Schmidt v. State, 816 N.E.2d 925,
930 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), trans. denied.
[27] In reviewing a trial court’s decision to give or to refuse tendered instructions,
this court considers: (1) whether the instruction correctly states the law; (2)
whether there was evidence in the record to support the giving of the
instruction; and (3) whether the substance of the instruction is covered by other
instructions which are given. Control Techniques, Inc. v. Johnson, 762 N.E.2d
104, 109 (Ind. 2002). The trial court has discretion in instructing the jury, and
we will reverse on the last two issues only when the instructions amount to an
abuse of discretion. Estate of Dyer v. Doyle, 870 N.E.2d 573, 582 (Ind. Ct. App.
2007), trans. denied. A party seeking a new trial on the basis of an improper jury
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 13 of 14
instruction must show a reasonable probability that its substantial rights have
been adversely affected. Id.
[28] The trial court provided the jury instruction on intervening cause which is
drawn verbatim from Indiana Model Civil Jury Instructions 303 (2016 Ed.):
Sometimes an unrelated event breaks the connection between a
defendant’s negligent action and the injury a plaintiff claims to
have suffered. If this event was not reasonably foreseeable, it is
called an ‘intervening cause.’
When an intervening cause breaks the connection between a
defendant’s negligent act and a plaintiff’s injury, a defendant’s
negligent act is no longer a ‘responsible cause’ of that plaintiff’s
Perpetual and John do not argue that the instruction is an incorrect statement of
the law. There was evidence in the record to support the giving of an
instruction on intervening cause. As noted above, Palmer did not assert a
nonparty defense but, instead, argued intervening cause. The trial court did not
abuse its discretion by giving the instruction on intervening cause.
[29] Perpetual and John waived their argument as to the admission of evidence of
intervening cause by failing to object at trial. Waiver notwithstanding, the trial
court properly allowed Palmer to introduce evidence of intervening cause and
properly instructed the jury on intervening cause.

The judgment of the trial
court is affirmed.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 71A03-1609-CT-2255 | August 17, 2017 Page 14 of 14
[30] Affirmed.
Baker, J., and Crone, J., concur.

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Death Announcement: Anne Wanjiku Giathi of Atlanta, Georgia



It is with humble acceptance that we announce the promotion to glory of our beloved mom Ms. Anne Wanjiku Giathi ( Mama Mukabi) of Kennesaw District (K4).
She rested Tuesday morning in Kenya. Following her demise, a prayer meeting will be held at KACC on Friday 15th @7pm & Memorial Service on Sunday after 11 Am Service at the same venue.
Let’s uphold the family with prayers and support.
Mukabi Giathi 4049884674
Teresa Karanja 4042773160
Naomi Kanyari 4047232111
Kanyari Muthoga 4043536317
God bless you

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Continue Reading


Uhuru should read this before handing over JKIA to Kenya Airways



In some countries, many airports have been privatized in the form of long-term leases. Such leases shift risks, responsibilities, and growth incentives to the airport company. In Canada, reforms during the 1990s established the nation’s top 26 airports as self-funded nonprofit corporations. The airport companies generally have 60-year leases from the federal government, and they are fully responsible for management, operations, and capital investment.

Privatized airports fund their operations through charges on passengers, airlines, advertising, and returns from airport retail and parking concessions. The Canadian airport companies not only cover their own costs, but they also make payments in lieu of taxes to municipal governments and make lease payments to the federal government.

The privatization revolution was launched by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the United Kingdom, which came to power in 1979. Her government privatized dozens of major businesses, including British Airways and British Airports Authority, which owned London’s Heathrow and a half dozen other airports.

Other nations followed the British lead on privatization because of a “disillusionment with the generally poor performance of state-owned enterprises and the desire to improve efficiency of bloated and often failing companies,” noted a report on privatization by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

For airports, privatization can be thought of along a continuum from fully government facilities to fully private. Although U.S. airports are owned by state and local governments, they contract out numerous services to private firms, such as retail concessions. A few U.S. airports — such as Albany International — have taken a step further and contracted with private firms to manage overall airport operations. And a few U.S. airports have entered long-term agreements with private firms to design, build, and manage new terminals. Terminal 5 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Terminal 4 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport are examples. But, generally, U.S. airports are run by governments as static utilities, not as entrepreneurial businesses.

Abroad, many airports are owned and operating as for-profit businesses, often as publicly traded corporations. Britain led the way with the 1987 privatization of British Airports Authority. Today, most major British airports are corporations that are either mainly or fully private.

The U.S. economy depends on safe, reliable, and affordable air travel. In turn, the quality of air travel depends on our aviation infrastructure, which includes the air traffic control (ATC) system operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and commercial airports owned by state and local governments.

Air travel faces major challenges in the years ahead as passenger demand outstrips the capacity of available facilities. Along with rising demand, the average size of planes has fallen, which has increased the number of planes using airports and ATC. Many airports are congested and the FAA has struggled to implement new ATC technologies to manage our crowded airspace.

Around the world, countries facing similar problems have adopted market-based aviation reforms. While our infrastructure is government-owned and bureaucratic, many airports abroad have been privatized, and foreign ATC systems have been restructured as independent, self-supporting organizations. While U.S. airports and ATC receive taxpayer subsidies, the global trend is toward aviation infrastructure funded by user charges.

This study focuses on reforms to the nation’s more than 500 commercial airports. These airports are owned by state and local governments, but the federal government provides aid for capital improvements. The aid and other federal policies create hurdles to restructuring along the lines of reforms abroad. As a result, our airports are missing out on innovations that would benefit the traveling public.

Airports should be self-funded by revenues from passengers, airlines, concessions, and other sources. Federal subsidies should be phased out, and state and local governments should privatize their airports to improve efficiency, competitiveness, and passenger benefits.

Federal Role in Airport Funding

In the early years of commercial aviation, numerous private airports operated alongside those established by state and local governments.1 In 1924 Henry Ford opened an airport in Dearborn, Michigan, which would become the site of numerous innovations, including the first paved runway, the first airport hotel, and the first modern terminal facility. In Miami, the International Pan American Airport operated from 1933 to 1945. This large and sophisticated facility was the hub for Pan Am’s extensive services to Central and South America.

The Los Angeles area had two major private airports. In Burbank, the Lockheed Air Terminal operated from 1930 until 1978, when it was sold to a local government authority. Today it is the Hollywood Burbank Airport. In Glendale, the Grand Central Air Terminal operated from 1929 to 1959. During the 1930s, it was the main airport in Southern California. Grand Central had the first paved runway west of the Rockies, and it was home to the first air service between Los Angeles and New York. The airport had a close association with famous names in aviation, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and Jack Northrop.

Philadelphia’s main airport from 1929 to 1940 was the private Central Airport in Camden, New Jersey. It was serviced by all four major airlines, and had three runways and the most modern equipment. Meanwhile, the main airport serving the nation’s capital from 1930 to 1941 was the private Washington-Hoover Airport in Virginia.

Despite the impressive efforts of the early airport entrepreneurs, the industry soon became dominated by government-owed facilities. Many city governments were eager to own their own airports, even if private airports already served an area. Cities were able to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance their facilities, which gave them a financial edge over private airports. And beginning in the 1920s, the U.S. military and the Post Office were promoting government-owned airports over private ones.

During the 1930s, the federal government provided large amounts of aid through New Deal programs to government-owned airports. The effects were immediate in some cities. In Dayton, Ohio, the private owners of the city’s major airport leased the facility to the city in 1934 to secure some of the New Deal aid. And then in 1936, the airport owners handed over full ownership to the city government.

Federal aid began causing a similar crowding out of private airports across the country. In the early 1930s, about half the nation’s more than 1,100 airports were private, but by the late 1930s the number of public airports substantially outnumbered the private facilities.

When World War II began, Congress appropriated funds to construct and improve 250 government-owned airports for national defense purposes.7 Then in 1944, the Surplus Property Act transferred excess military bases to state and local governments for public airport use.

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The Federal Airport Act of 1946 began regular federal aid to government-owned airports, initially providing $500 million over seven years. Once again, the justification for federal aid was the link to national defense.

The coming of jet aircraft and concerns about aviation safety spurred Congress to create the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1958. The new agency replaced previous agencies involved in air traffic control and airport development. Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution says that after it was established, the FAA “prohibited private airports from offering commercial service.”

Congress started taxing aviation soon after it was established. It passed an excise tax on aviation fuels in 1932 and an excise tax on airline tickets in 1941. The revenue from these levies initially went into the government’s general fund. That changed in 1970 when Congress created the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), which channeled aviation taxes and fees into funding for air traffic control and state and local airports.

The AATF currently raises about $15 billion annually from a 7.5 percent tax on domestic airline tickets, taxes on aviation fuels, international departure and arrival taxes, and a number of other charges. The AATF revenues pay for the bulk of the FAA’s budget, with the balance coming from general federal funds.

Most FAA spending goes toward ATC operations and ATC capital investment. But about $3.2 billion a year goes to the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which funds capital projects at airports, such as runway expansions. The money is doled out both through formula and discretionary grants under a complex set of rules and regulations.

Another source of funding for airport investment is the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), which was authorized by Congress in 1990. PFCs are imposed by state and local airport agencies, but Congress sets a maximum charge, which since 2000 has been $4.50 per passenger per flight segment.

Large airports rely more on PFC funding, and less on AIP grants, than small airports. Large airports also receive substantial revenue from commercial sources, including landing fees, airline space rentals, parking and rental car fees, and retail concessions. Smaller airports with less commercial airline service often rely on grants from state and local governments, in addition to AIP grants.

Current federal airport funding mechanisms are problematic. One issue is that Congress has kept AIP funding roughly flat for 15 years, even though U.S. aviation demand has grown. Another issue is that the allocation of AIP spending is determined by political and bureaucratic factors, not by marketplace demands, so the money is spent inefficiently. The 100 largest airports, which get the vast bulk of passengers, receive a relatively small share of AIP funding, while small airports receive a disproportionately large share.

The inefficient AIP funding would not be much of a problem except that Congress puts airports in a financial bind by imposing the PFC cap. The cap limits the ability of airports to fund their own improvements, and thus tackle their own growth and congestion challenges independently from Washington.

Airport Privatization around the World

The private sector plays a larger role in the aviation infrastructure of other countries than the United States. Hundreds of airports around the world have been partly or fully privatized. There are dozens of international companies that own and operate airports, finance airport privatization, or participate in projects to finance, build, and operate new airports and airport terminals.

Airport privatization has been part of a broader privatization revolution that has swept the world since the 1980s.15 Governments in more than 100 countries have moved thousands of state-owned businesses to the private sector. Airports, airlines, and many other types of businesses valued at more than $3.3 trillion have been privatized over the past three decades.16

Back in the 1930s, private airports in the United States were entrepreneurial in generating revenues. Airports such as Grand Central in California and Central in New Jersey earned a substantial share of their income from on-site amenities such as hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, sightseeing flights, air shows, and mini golf.19

A 2016 study by Airports Council International (ACI) found that 47 percent of airports in the 28 European Union (EU) countries are either “mostly” or “fully” private, which is up from 23 percent in 2010.20 Since the largest airports in Europe tend to be the ones that have been privatized, the ACI study found that 75 percent of passenger trips in the EU are now through privatized airports.

According to the ACI study, there are 60 “fully private” airports in the EU, including the main airports in Antwerp, Budapest, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lisbon, Liverpool, Ljubljana, London, and Zagreb. In addition, the study found that the main airports in Birmingham, Brussels, Copenhagen, Florence, Naples, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Zurich, and numerous other cities are “mostly private,” which generally means that they are structured as corporations and the private sector holds a majority of the shares.

Even the government-owned airports in Europe are often structured as commercial enterprises. For example, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is operated by a corporation that is 51 percent held by the French government and 49 percent held by other shareholders. Similarly, the 46 major airports in Spain are owned by a publicly traded corporation that is 51 percent held by the Spanish government and 49 percent privately held.

The movement toward privatization is occurring worldwide.21 Australia privatized more than a dozen of its major airports. New Zealand privatized two of its three largest airports. Mexico has privatized numerous airports. Brazil sold 51 percent of five major airports in 2012 and 2013, including the main airports in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Japan has passed legislation authorizing the sale of two dozen or so airports in coming years, and Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with plans to privatize two dozen of its airports.

Advantages of Privatization

Globally, privatization has been a successful reform in many industries. An OECD report reviewed the academic research and found “overwhelming support for the notion that privatization brings about a significant increase in the profitability, real output and efficiency of privatised companies.”22 And a review of studies in the Journal of Economic Literature concluded that privatization “appears to improve performance measured in many different ways, in many different countries.”23

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For airports, some of the benefits of privatization include greater operating efficiency, improved amenities, and increased capital investment. American airports need such improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our aviation infrastructure a low grade of D in its most recent report.24 That is not surprising given that our airports and air traffic control are government-owned bureaucracies.

In a Brookings Institution book, transportation scholars Steven Morrison and Clifford Winston summarized their recommendations for U.S. aviation infrastructure:

In our view, excessive travel delays are — to a significant extent — a manifestation of the failure of publicly owned and managed airports and air traffic control to adopt policies and introduce innovations that could greatly improve the efficiency of the U.S. air transportation system. Given little economic incentive and saddled with institutional and political constraints, major airports and the air traffic control system have not exhibited any marked improvement in their performance for decades despite repeated assurances that they would do so …

Some observers believe that delays would be reduced if the nation invested more money in airports and air traffic control. However, the returns from such spending would be compromised by the system’s vast inefficiencies. Thus, the key to reducing delays efficiently is to rid the system of its major inefficiencies. We believe that can be accomplished only by privatizing the nation’s aviation infrastructure.25

Privatization and increased competition would boost the performance of our aviation infrastructure. It would reduce costs and encourage more efficient pricing structures for airport and air traffic control usage.26 Airlines, passengers, private plane owners, and taxpayers would all benefit from a more entrepreneurial and commercial approach to airport operation.

The ACI report concluded that there is “no denying the tangible benefits” of market-based reforms in Europe’s airport industry, including “significant volumes of investment in necessary infrastructure, higher service quality levels, and a commercial acumen which allows airport operators to diversify revenue streams and minimize the costs that users have to pay.”27 In Britain, privatization has created a highly dynamic and efficient industry with substantial competition between airports and lots of new entry by low-cost airlines.28

The need to privatize airports can be partly traced back to airline deregulation in 1978. President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Airline Deregulation Act, which removed government controls over airline fares, routes, entry, and mergers. Under deregulation, prices fell and the volume of air travel increased dramatically. Airlines reconfigured their routes, updated their equipment, and improved their capacity utilization. New airlines opened for business. Consumers saved tens of billions of dollars a year from the reforms.

However, it is also true that today’s airline service leaves much to be desired because of delays, crowded planes, and other inconveniences. If service by some airlines in some markets is lacking, why haven’t entrepreneurs offered better alternatives? It turns out that many are trying, but they often have difficulty obtaining gates at airports. Airline deregulation is an unfinished reform until it includes airport deregulation and privatization.

Many U.S. airports are still run in a bureaucratic manner typical of the pre-deregulation era. Their management is passive and risk-averse compared to the leading privatized airports abroad. Research by Oxford University scholars has shown that the managements of privatized airports are more “passenger friendly” than those of traditional airports.29And a statistical study of airport productivity in 109 airports worldwide looked at whether ownership was correlated with productivity. It found that privatized and corporatized airports are more productive than fully government-owned airports.30

Privatization offers a clear advantage when it comes to capital investments. Government transportation investments — whether airports, highways, or air traffic control systems — often experience large cost overruns. In the 1990s, for example, the construction of Denver International Airport more than doubled in cost from the original estimates.31 Such cost overruns are one reason why many nations are partly privatizing infrastructure through public-private partnerships (PPPs or P3s). PPPs can shift the financing, management, operations, and risks of projects to the private sector.

A McKinsey & Company report on infrastructure noted that cost overruns were about seven times more likely on traditional government projects than PPP projects.32 And an Australian study that compared 21 PPP infrastructure projects with 33 traditional projects found: “PPPs demonstrate clearly superior cost efficiency over traditional procurement … PPPs provide superior performance in both the cost and time dimensions.”33

Another advantage of airport privatization is that it would enhance competition between airlines. Private airport managers are more willing to take the risks of new investments, including the creation of new gates for additional flights and airlines. Private airports try to attract new carriers to earn added revenues and profits. By contrast, current U.S. airport agreements with major incumbent airlines often give the airlines what amounts to veto power over terminal expansions, called majority-in-interest clauses.34

Also, major incumbent airlines in current U.S. airports often have exclusive-use agreements for gates. From the standpoint of risk-averse airport managers, these long-term agreements give them a guaranteed revenue stream. But when new-entrant airlines want to start service to such airports, there may be no gates available, which reduces competition. Even if there are gates available, Steven Morrison and Clifford Winston note that dominant incumbent airlines can “prevent competitors from having access even to gates that are little used.”35

By contrast, experience has shown that privatized airports generally do not cede de facto control over their facilities to the large airlines. At privatized airports, the gates typically remain under the control of the airport company, and they are allocated to individual airlines as needed, sometimes even hour by hour.

In sum, airline competition would be enhanced if we reformed the current ownership and management structures of U.S. airports. Much of the world is moving to a new paradigm — the airport as a private business enterprise — that is more consistent with today’s dynamic economy and demanding aviation consumers.

Hurdles to U.S. Privatization

Why has the United States resisted the sort of airport restructuring that is occurring abroad?36 One factor has been that state and local governments can issue tax-exempt bonds to finance public airports, but private airports would have to rely on taxable bonds. The result is that financing is less costly for establishing and expanding government-owned airports than private airports.

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The best way to fix this financing bias would be to eliminate the state and local interest exemption under the federal income tax. But short of such a reform, federal policymakers should consider allowing private airport developers to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds (private activity bonds), as policymakers have allowed in toll highway projects.

Another hurdle to private airport development is that only government-owned airports are eligible for federal airport subsidies (except for airports in the Pilot Program, as discussed below). The combination of federal subsidies and tax-exempt financing for government-owned airports makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to enter the airport business and compete with existing facilities.

If a state and local government wants to privatize an existing airport, yet another hurdle is that federal law generally requires the repayment of previous federal grants received by an airport. Moreover, all lease or sale proceeds from privatization must be used for airport reinvestment, according to FAA rules. That prevents a state or city from selling its airport and using the proceeds for other infrastructure projects or for the general budget.

If these federal rules were not enough of a hurdle, a final barrier to privatization has been opposition from the airlines. They worry that they might face more competition under privatization and have to pay the full market-based costs of airport services. Typically, major airlines are like anchor tenants in shopping malls. They often have lease-and-use agreements at airports that give them control over terminals or concourses and the right to approve or veto capital spending plans. That gives them the power to oppose airport expansion if it would mean more competition.

Airlines have also resisted eliminating the federal cap on PFCs. Eliminating the cap would allow airports to raise more of their own funding for expansion. PFCs are a useful funding source for airports to increase gate capacity, but airlines tend to disfavor the greater competition that new gates would bring.

State and local governments add their own hurdles to private airport development. Government-owned airports do not pay state or federal income taxes, and they are generally exempt from property taxes. By contrast, a private for-profit airport would have to pay income and property taxes. Private airports may also face higher tort liability risks than government airports do.37

Privatization Pilot Program

In the 1990s some state and local officials saw what Margaret Thatcher had done in Britain and were inspired to try and sell or lease their own airports. Congress responded by passing the Airport Privatization Pilot Program in 1996.38 The program allows exemptions from onerous provisions of airport grant agreements for up to 10 U.S. airports. Cities whose airports are accepted for the program do not have to repay previous federal grants, and they are allowed to keep airport sale or lease proceeds.

However, the airlines lobbied to include a provision specifying that to keep sale or lease proceeds from a privatization, a city has to get the approval of 65 percent of the airlines serving an airport. So airlines can often block privatization if, for example, they believe it would increase competition. Also, privatized airports in the program are eligible for less generous grants under the AIP, and the process of applying to the FAA for the Pilot Program is costly and time-consuming.39

For these and other reasons, the program has had little success. The first airport privatized under the 1996 Pilot Program was Stewart International Airport north of New York City. The airport was operated under a 99-year lease by the National Express Group. But that lease was later terminated by mutual consent, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gained control of the airport.

Chicago tried twice to privatize Midway Airport via the Pilot Program. In 2008 it selected a winning bidder, but the deal could not be financed because of the credit market crunch at the time. A second attempt ended up with only a single bidder, apparently due to the restrictive conditions on the proposed lease. Without competing bids, in 2013 the city decided not to proceed.

The only airport currently privatized under the program is Luis Munoz Marin International in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The deal with Aerostar consortium was finalized in 2013. The company paid $615 million up-front and agreed to invest $1.2 billion in the airport over the 40-year lease term. Aerostar will also share airport revenue with the government. So far, the company has made renovations to the airport’s two terminals, including new retail stores and automatic baggage scanners.

Another slot in the Pilot Program is held by Hendry County, Florida. It plans to lease Airglades Airport to a consortium for conversion into a cargo reliever airport for Miami International. The consortium has received an initial contract to manage the airport while its application waits for final approval from the FAA. Some other airports have considered applying for the Pilot Program, but progress has been slow.

One positive development is that a small but growing number of U.S. airports have management contracts with private companies. Indianapolis International Airport, for example, completed a successful management contract with a British airport company. Other contract-managed airports include Albany, Burbank, and White Plains.


The Pilot Program has been a step in the right direction, but much larger reforms are needed to spur private investment in U.S. airports. One important step would be to reduce or eliminate the income tax exemption for municipal bonds to put private airport financing on a level playing field with government financing. Another step would be to remove the 65 percent supermajority requirement that lets airlines block privatization.

Congress should also phase out the AIP program (at least for medium and large commercial airports) to encourage greater self-funding of airport capital spending. It should also eliminate the cap on PFCs to allow airports to fund operations through user charges on their own passengers. PFCs are a more direct and transparent revenue source than the AIP program.40 PFCs and other airport-generated revenues can enhance airline competition by providing funding to build new gates and other facilities to attract additional flights and carriers.

Opening up our aviation infrastructure to businesses and entrepreneurs would benefit the traveling public by encouraging additional investment and greater competition. America has a remarkable history of aviation innovation, but we need major policy reforms to ensure that our infrastructure remains at the leading edge in today’s global economy.

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Atlanta resident Charles Kimani undergoes delicate brain surgery, family appeals for help




A Kenyan family in Atlanta, Georgia, is in dire need of financial assistance after one of their own underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain.

According to the family, on January 23rd this year, Mr Charles Kimani had a scheduled surgery to remove a brain tumor between his frontal sinuses. The surgery had been scheduled to last for 4 – 5 hours with an estimated 5 days post-surgery hospital stay.

During the procedure, it was discovered the tumor was larger than earlier thought and his surgery lasted 11 hours. Since then, he has been in the Critical Care unit at Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta.

The good news is that he is gradually recuperating. However, the illness is taking a toll on the members of his family hence they are appealing to the Kenyan community in the region and beyond to come to their aid.

“Charles still has a long road ahead of him and we are not sure when he will be cleared to return to work. We would love to help ease the financial burden on his wife, Susan and his 2 young children, Samantha & Mark,” says the family spokesperson in a GoFundme Campaign.

By the time of posting this appeal, the campaign had raised about $1,300 out of a $10,000 target.

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“We are praying for his total and complete healing,”  adds the spokesperson.

Besides the financial help, the family is also kindly appealing for  prayers.

“Nothing is too little. As we say in Kenya, haba na haba hujaza kibaba (loosely translated, to “little by little fills the measure).”

On behalf of the entire family, thank you and may God bless you & increase your bounty.

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