KQ turnaround must rise above State bailouts

Kenya Airways planes at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on July 31, 2020. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG Air transport plays a key role in many economies. In Kenya, the Vision 2030 blueprint aims at positioning the country as a transport hub in the region. With the African Continental Free Trade Area pact in place, dependable transport infrastructure is crucial to facilitating supply chain integration, promoting trade, and investment.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says air transport is essential for territorial cohesion and development convergence.

A slump of Kenya Airways (KQ) would not only ruin our regional hegemony and international reputation, but also hurt international supply chains, especially imports and exports.

The national carrier is struggling with turbulence, something that has prompted it to hire various consultants to turn it around

According to the Treasury, KQ is required to reduce its fleet size, route network and trim operations, and downsize staff. This is absurd.

A 2015 Senate task force found that the problems of the national carrier included poor investment decisions, fuel hedging, expensive ticketing, unethical human resource practices, frequent cancellation of flights, political interference, and lack of aviation skills.

Across the globe, airlines are posting strong performance post-Covid, an indication the national carrier’s problems go beyond financial woes.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts a firm path to resumption of global air travel with passenger numbers expected to surpass the 2019 peak in 2024.

The world economic outlook forecast placed Kenya’s aviation industry growth at 249 percent in the next 20 years with an additional 11.3 million passenger journeys, more than 449,000 additional jobs, and an $11.3 billion boost to the gross domestic product by 2037.

According to the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association, Kenya is leading in East Africa aviation in terms of aggregate passenger numbers and cargo, but stands to lose this position due to the revival of other regional airlines.

KQ flies to 56 destinations worldwide, 46 of which in Africa. According to IATA, the national carrier of late has shown some positive prospects, including increase in passenger numbers as most countries ease travel restrictions.KQ is the only airline in East Africa that flies directly to the US, making it easier for passengers from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to connect through Nairobi. The national carrier operates direct flights to Amsterdam, London and Paris.In business, reputation is key.The aviation industry relies heavily on customer perception that focuses on customer satisfaction, safety, reliabilty, […]

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