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KQ flies into Sh12.98 billion fresh full-year loss

Kenya Airways sank deeper into the red for the year ended December 2019, as operating costs increased and the national carrier adopted IFRS 16.

The airline posted a Sh12.98 billion net loss as increasing operating costs offset growth in revenues.
“The Group saw a 12.4 percent increase in operating costs, driven by the increase in capacity deployed and an increase in fleet ownership costs attributed to the return of two Boeing 787 aircraft that had been subleased to Oman Air,” chairman Mr Michael Joseph said in a statement.

The carrier’s revenue increased by 12.4 percent to Sh128.31 billion on improved passenger and cargo numbers due to expansion of the network.

“In the year under review, the Airline invested in new routes to the network; Geneva, Rome, and Malindi. This expansion resulted to a 6.7 percent increase in passenger numbers to hit record
5.1 million passengers,” Mr Joseph said.
Mr Joseph said Tuesday that in the year under review, passenger revenue grew by 8.9 percent driven by New York, Rome, Geneva and Malindi route expansions.

The Treasury is Kenya Airways’ biggest shareholder, controlling a 48.9 percent stake while banks, which converted their loans into equity, own 38.1 percent.

Strategic partner KLM is ranked third with 7.8 percent shareholding while other investors hold 5.2 percent of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company.

The current coronavirus- which has halted global travel- could sink the carrier deeper in red.

The airline, which has been struggling to return to profitability and growth, in March applied for Sh7 billion State bailout after its aircraft were grounded due to the restrictions on international passenger flights sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday it emerged that the Treasury has refused to offer a commitment which could deepen the firm’s financial woes.

Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani said the State was keen on a long-term solution anchored on nationalisation of Kenya Airways, arguing the carrier’s financial troubles go beyond the corona-related woes.

The national carrier needs money for the maintenance of the grounded planes, payment of staff salaries and settlement of utility bills like security, water, electricity and parking fees.