Kenya Airways revives COO post, picks George Kamal

A fleet of Kenya Airways planes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in this photo taken on July 15, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Kenya Airways (KQ) has revived the chief operating officer (COO) post it scrapped nearly three years ago and appointed captain George Kamal effective March 14.

KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, has been restructuring to return to profitability and cut reliance on Treasury handouts for operational cash.

Cap Kamal is a former Air Arabia operations director and Iraqi Airways COO.

“He will, therefore, be involved in the coordinating activities in various departments including flight operations, technical services, ground services, integrated operational control centre and supply chain,” KQ managing director Allan Kilavuka said Tuesday in a memo to staff.

“Please join me in welcoming George to the KQ family and wishing him all the best in this critical assignment.”

Cap Kamal started his aviation career as a first officer and captain at Egypt Air, then moved to Etihad Airways as a captain and type rating instructor.

He has 27 years of experience as a pilot, flying Airbus 300, 330, and 320 and Boeing 777 planes.

Cap Kamal takes over the COO role last held by Jan de Vegt, who exited the airline in 2019, citing a lack of support as the reason for his departure.

Mr de Vegt was appointed COO on August 1, 2016, taking over from Yves Guibert, who had left in July.

KQ said it did away with the position following the expiry of Mr de Vegt’s contract.

Mr Kamal joins the airline that has been a perennial beneficiary of State bailouts, with the carrier expected to receive another Sh35 billion in the current financial year, some of which will be used to repay its debts.

He holds a master’s degree in Aviation Management Transformation in New Digital Decade from London Metropolitan.

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