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Ideas & Debate

Why it feels eerily like 1996 all over again for KQ

Kenya Airways plane
A Kenya Airways plane at JKIA in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

It has been 24 years since Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ was privatised and now the National Aviation Management Bill of 2020 seeks to re-nationalise the airline in a bid to turn its loss-making tide.

If the Bill is endorsed by the National Assembly, it will be one amongst the many interventions which have been undertaken to put foam on the runway for the airline including the 2017 debt-equity swap with banks; the writing off of debt worth Sh24.2 billion in 2018, and the Sh5.0 billion credit line extended by the Treasury in February 2020.

Kenya Airways had earlier sought control of the operations and management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport through a 30-year concession agreement.

The proposal was rejected by the National Assembly which argued that it fell short of presenting a viable option for restoring Nairobi’s position as a civil aviation hub.

In its stead, the National Assembly’s Transport committee has generated the National Aviation Management Bill of 2020 through which it seeks to afford Kenya Airways some breathing space through measures such as favourable tax concessions.

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In an environment where the global aviation industry has been upended in one swoop by the Covid-19 pandemic, the passing of the Bill is a matter of survival for Kenya Airways whose loss widened from Sh7.56 billion in the year ended December 2018 to Sh12.9 billion in the year ended December 2019.

More importantly, however, what will operation in a post-Covid-19 environment look like and is Kenya Airways adequately preparing for this reality?

For more insights on what the National Aviation Management Bill of 2020 proposes with regard to the future of Kenya Airways, watch Business Redefined on NTV Kenya tonight starting 7:30 p.m. On set to discuss the Bill will be the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Transport committee, David Pkosing.

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