In the past few weeks, the government has laid out contrasting proposals for reviving national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ), adding to the uncertainty surrounding the airline which continues to soak in billions in taxpayer bailouts.
First, there was a disclosure by the Transport ministry of a plan to split the airline along its main business lines.
A proposed merger with South Africa Airways was also brought up last week, and now, the Treasury has raised the prospects of selling a stake to a foreign strategic investor.
Previously, there was also a plan to nationalise the airline and put it under a holding company that would also incorporate airport assets— which went as far as receiving support from Parliament.
Granted, all these plans seek to provide a solution to the troubles of the company that have persisted for much longer than they should have, and to preserve a key national asset that is critical for the country’s status as the regional economic hub.
It is important though that the government settles on one plan of action and puts in the necessary effort to push it through.
Mooting different plans and dropping them along the way only muddies the waters further for the airline and makes it difficult to attract the investment that is needed to rescue the airline.
For a start, the government must settle on the ministry or arm that will lead the restructuring process, whether it is the Treasury or Transport. The others must then give full backing to the process.
Failure to line up a solid rescue plan and carry it through will only subject the taxpayer to further losses and eventually doom the airline.