Kenya Airways hired 514 employees in the year ended December when it reported a record net loss amid higher operating expenses.
KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, closed the review period with 4,230 permanent workers, according to disclosures in its latest annual report.
It had 3,716 permanent employees the year before. The company recorded an increase in hiring across most job categories.
Management and administration ranks grew the most to 1,273 from 987, followed by flight operations that expanded to 1,379 from 1,172.
The number of workers employed in ground services meanwhile rose to 1,038 from 1,016. The technical division lost one person to stand at 540.
The airline ramped up its hiring as part of its plans to grow revenues and ultimately turn a profit.
“In 2022, Kenya Airways staff continue to deliver on its ambitious transformation journey, anchored on three thematic strategic themes –to be an employer of choice by 2024; to be Africa’s preferred airline by 2024; and to breakeven by 2024,” the company says in the report.
The increased hiring raised the company’s spending on wages and salaries by Sh872 million to Sh11.3 billion in the year ended December.
Total staff costs, including redundancy costs and other undisclosed items, however, declined by Sh89 million to Sh12.6 billion.
KQ’s revenues increased by two-thirds to Sh116.7 billion but costs rose at a faster pace, plunging the firm into a record net loss of Sh38.2 billion from Sh15.8 billion a year earlier.
The national carrier continues to rely on government bailouts to survive the impact of the multi-year losses, receiving Sh16.27 billion in the latest confirmed assistance.
“As part of the government commitment to support the airline’s resumption of operations following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government of Kenya advanced a shareholder loan totaling Sh16.27 billion during the year,” KQ says in the report.
“This was in addition to Sh25 billion advanced in 2020 and 2021, making the total loan amount to Sh41.27 billion. The loan was to enable the airline to recover from the impact of Covid-19 and support restructuring.”
The loan is repayable after five years and attracts interest at a rate of three percent per annum.