In an effort to compete with rival carrier Ethiopian Airlines in the provision of airline services in the region, Kenya Airways has announced plans to double the number of its fleet by 2024.
By December 2018, KQ’s fleet of airplanes consisted of 41 wide and narrow body Boeing planes while that of rival Ethiopian Airlines surpassed 100 aircrafts in total.
According to a news report by Reuters, KQ Chairman Michael Joseph revealed that the carrier is reshuffling its aircraft leasing agreements and opening up new flight routes to free up cash for investment in new planes.
“We intend to double the size of the fleet over the next five years if we can find the right financial structure to do this,” Joseph is quoted as saying by Reuters.
KQ which is 48.9 percent owned by the Kenyan government has been battling debt for the last few years. As at December 2018, the company had registered a Ksh.7.55 billion loss. The loss was however an improvement from the Ksh. 9.4 billion posted in 2017’s full year results.
Reuters similarly reports that efforts by the airline to boost its revenue by taking over the running of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were thwarted by a parliamentary committee last month.
The cabinet had agreed to an earlier proposal to hand over management of the airport to KQ in an effort to rejuvenate the Airline’s in the red financials. The parliamentary committee however shut down the idea completely and advised the government to source for alternative ways to help the struggling airline.
The carrier’s announcement coincides with an earlier declaration by KQ CEO Sebastian Mikosz in which he revealed that he will step down from the carrier before seeing out his contract which expires in June 2020. This has left the fate of KQ’s turnaround strategy in limbo.
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