Kenya Airways withdraws plan to take over JKIA


File image of a Kenya Airways plane. PHOTO/ COURTESY
File image of a Kenya Airways plane. PHOTO/ COURTESY

In Summary

  • In a statement issued on Wednesday, Kenya Airways said the decision was occasioned by the National Assembly’s move to adopt a report recommending nationalization of the carrier -- a move they have previously said they support but not necessarily agree with.
  • Under the plan, KQ had wanted to be allowed to run Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This was anchored on an argument that the facility was poised to significantly shore up their earnings and reduce their operating costs.

Kenya Airways (KQ) has formally withdrawn the privately-initiated investment proposal from consideration of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Kenya Airways said the decision was occasioned by the National Assembly’s move to adopt a report recommending nationalization of the carrier — a move they have previously said they support but not necessarily agree with.

“Parliament opted for this, we didn’t want to be nationalized, it was forced on us and now we have to deal with this in order to ensure we stay afloat. If you ask these employees, no one wants to be under a parastatal,” said KQ Chairman Michael Joseph.

Under the plan, KQ had wanted to be allowed to run Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This was anchored on an argument that the facility was poised to significantly shore up their earnings and reduce their operating costs.

This proposal however did not sit down well with the Kenya Airports Authority.

It instead opened up conversation around Kenya’s aviation sector, resulting into under currents both at Kenya Airways and KAA leading to the twin resignation of KQ boss Sebastian Mikosz and KAA head Johnny Andersen.

The resignation by the two for the first time left Kenya’s aviation sector big boys unmanned.

“The nationalization will have KQ separate from JKIA and other entities, this presents an issue for them as they banked on this plan,” opined Aviation expert Githae Mwaniki.

Like Mwaniki, other pundits have linked the departures of the KQ and KAA bosses to the abrupt move by parliament.

With KQ expected to be back under the State ambit, any CEO will be under State directions through the aviation holding company, this ridding it of current mode of opeartion.

At KAA, the curving out of JKIA from its control would mean loss of its major revenue earner, leaving it with only Moi International Airport Mombasa, Kisumu International Airport and Eldoret International airport as key facilities.

The nationalization plan if successful will therefore see KQ, KAA, JKIA Company and the Aviation College all report to a holding Company. The structure effectively taking shine and control from KQ and KAA CEO positions.

“Nationalization can only address so much, whoever the board decides to bring in they have to know how the Kenyan market works,” added Mwaniki.

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Story By Faizal Ahmed
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