Kenya Airways urges government to fast-track nationalisation

Kenya Airways urges government to fast-track nationalisation

Kenya Airways Fleet The Board of Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta ) has urged the country’s National Assembly to fast track the nationalisation of the airline by approving the National Aviation Management Bill, 2020, reports Capital FM in Nairobi.

The Bill is pending despite having been gazetted more than a year ago, on June 15, 2020. Under its terms, the government, which holds a 48.9% stake in Kenya Airways, proposes to fully re-nationalise the flag carrier by creating a National Aviation Council and a holding company, Kenya Aviation Corporation, that will house three subsidiaries: Kenya Airways, the Kenya Airports Authority, and an investment arm, the Aviation Investment Corporation.

Last year, members of parliament halted debate on the bill on the grounds that it needed more public input, delaying initial plans for the nationalisation of the airline by October 2020. As a result , the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) also extended the suspension from trading of Kenya Airways shares for an additional nine months with effect from April 5, 2021.

Capital FM reports Kenya Airways chairman Michael Joseph said the airline, in the meantime, was exploring other options. “The nationalisation process is out of our control…in the meantime, we continue to look for other alternative ways in which we can ensure the future of Kenya Airways,” he said. “The consolidation in the airline industry is what is going to happen. In our world and in Europe, you will see more consolidation happening. We need to look at these opportunities and explore them as they come our way,” he added.

The carrier recently awarded London-based Steer Group a contract to review its turnaround strategy.

The airline reported a loss of KES36.2 billion shilling (USD335.8 million) in the 2020 financial year. Revenue had dropped by 59% to KES52.8 billion (USD494 million), mostly attributed to the shutdown of its operations between April and August 2020 due to the pandemic. The airline needed KES55 billion (USD515 million) to survive this year.

Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka told Bloomberg in an interview that the government should step in to repay USD750 million of state-guaranteed debt to help the East African carrier emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

As reported , the airline has been trying to extend moratoria on the repayment of loans from various lenders, including local and international banks. It is scheduled to resume repayments of its sovereign-backed debt in July 2021, after a moratorium negotiated with lenders following […]

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