Kenya Airways cuts loss to Sh15bn on higher revenue

A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The national carrier reported Tuesday net loss dropped 56.58 percent to Sh15.88 billion compared with a record loss of Sh36.57 billion a year earlier when Covid restrictions hit its operations, including grounding of its plane for months.
  • Total income jumped 32.98 percent to Sh70.22 billion, KQ said in a financial statement, while operating costs fell 3.62 percent to Sh77.02 billion.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ narrowed its net loss for the year ended December by 56.58 percent on higher revenue as travel picked up with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The national carrier reported a net loss of Sh15.8 billion in the review period compared to a net loss of Sh36.2 billion the year before when travel restrictions hit operations hardest, including the grounding of its planes for months.

Total revenue in the review period bumped 32.98 percent to Sh70.22 billion, partly lifted by alternative sources such as air charter services which jumped 300 percent and helped compensate for income lost because of travel restrictions on some routes.

The struggling airline cut total operating expenses by Sh2.89 billion, or 3.62 percent, to Sh77.02 billion compared with the year before. It also reduced lease rentals for aircraft by Sh10 billion.

This, combined with the higher revenue, resulted in an operating loss of Sh6.8 billion -- a sharp decline from Sh27.11 billion the year before.

"Kenya Airways took advantage of the lockdown period to restructure and transform our operations and products. We have seen some good recovery on our domestic, regional, and selected international routes," KQ chairman Michael Joseph said in a statement.

Mr Joseph said revenue could have been higher were it not for the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid in the fourth quarter, which wiped out potential earnings on the key routes of Dubai and Guangzhou in China.

The airline flew 2.2 million passengers on its planes last year, a 25 percent growth over the previous year, while cargo business grew 29 percent to 63,726 tonnes.

"Following the worst year on record for the aviation industry [2020], the industry is seeing strong signs of recovery, particularly in US domestic travel and the more moderate recovery in international travel," Mr Joseph said.

The latest loss means that KQ has now gone for nine straight years without profits, extending its accumulated losses to Sh144.64 billion.

The airline last made a profit in 2012 when it closed with net earnings at Sh1.66 billion.

The huge accumulated losses have seen KQ slip into negative equity, meaning it is technically insolvent.

KQ’s negative equity deepened to Sh83.4 billion at the end of 2021 from Sh64.2 billion the previous year.

The airline has largely benefited from a number of State bailout packages which have helped keep it afloat, the latest being Sh20 billion in the supplementary budget before the National Assembly.


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