Kenya Airways Takes Flight Again: Records First Profit Since 2017

Kenya Airways (KQ) has finally turned a corner, emerging from a period of financial turbulence to record a significant milestone in its turnaround journey. The national carrier announced a KSh 10.5 billion operating profit for the year ended December 31, 2023. This achievement marks the airline’s first profitable year since 2017, signifying a remarkable comeback.

“These figures highlight the airline’s remarkable performance over the year and provide encouraging signs of continued recovery within the air transportation sector,” said Kenya Airways Chairman, Michael Joseph.

Project Kifaru Takes Off

This positive shift is a testament to the success of Project Kifaru, Kenya Airways’ comprehensive recovery plan. Here’s how KQ achieved this impressive turnaround, as highlighted by CEO Allan Kilavuka:

  • Customer Focus: KQ prioritized passenger experience. On-Time Performance (OTP) soared to an impressive 76%, making them Africa’s second-most efficient airline. Additionally, the introduction of the Asante rewards program and a revamped website aimed to improve customer loyalty and user experience.

  • Operational Efficiency: Strategic capacity deployment resulted in a 53% surge in total revenue, reaching KSh 178 billion. This impressive rise is primarily driven by a significant 43% growth in passenger numbers compared to the previous year, bringing them within 2% of pre-pandemic levels.

  • Cost Control Measures: Through strategic fleet rationalization, Kenya Airways slashed fleet costs by a remarkable 47.5%. The company also implemented cost-saving measures and fostered partnerships with other airlines.

“Our primary focus going ahead is dedicating ourselves to fostering innovation, nurturing partnerships, and cultivating a culture of excellence to ensure that Kenya Airways soars to new heights of success,” concluded Mr. Kilavuka.

Building on Success: A Path for Continued Growth

Despite facing foreign exchange losses, Kenya Airways managed to significantly reduce its net loss before tax to KSh 22.7 billion. This marks a major improvement from the KSh 38.3 billion loss reported in 2022.

Looking ahead, Mr. Kilavuka emphasized Kenya Airways’ key focus areas:

  • Innovation: Continuously improving operations and customer offerings through innovation.

  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration with other airlines for continued growth and network expansion.

  • Cultivating Excellence: Investing in employee development and maintaining a commitment to top-notch service.

  • Capital Restructuring: Finalizing a plan to reduce financial leverage and increase liquidity for long-term stability.

  • Government Support: Continued collaboration with the Kenyan government to optimize the airline’s operational and capital structure.

A Bright Future for Kenyan Aviation

With the global aviation industry poised for a full recovery in 2024, Kenya Airways is well-positioned to capitalize on this positive trend. This impressive turnaround story signifies the airline’s resilience and its dedication to reclaiming its position as a leader in African aviation.

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