Kenya Airways Achieves First Operating Profit in Seven Years

March 27, 2024

On Tuesday, Kenya’s troubled flag carrier, Kenya Airways, announced that it had recorded an operating profit in 2023, marking its first in seven years.

The figure of Kes.10.5 billion(about $80 million) for the year ended December 31 represents a sharp turnaround from an operating loss of Kes.5.6 billion in 2022.

The airline, with its biggest shareholder being the Kenyan government, also reported in a release that its loss after tax had decreased to almost Kes.23 billion from over Kes.38 billion the previous year.

Total revenue for the year surged by 53 percent to Kes.178 billion, a growth the airline attributed mainly to a 35 percent increase in passenger numbers to 5.04 million, as per its audited results statement.

Despite numerous government bailouts, Kenya Airways has been struggling with a substantial debt burden and continuous losses for years. Like the aviation industry as a whole, it was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chairman Michael Joseph hailed the profit achievement as a “significant milestone.”

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

Adding, “They also confirm the operational viability of the airline business and demonstrate that the management’s ongoing efforts to restore profitability are yielding positive results.”

CEO Allan Kilavuka stated that the company’s focus in the near term was on completing a “capital restructuring plan whose main objectives are to reduce the company’s financial leverage and increase liquidity.”

The government holds a 48.9 percent stake in Kenya Airways, while Air France-KLM holds 7.8 percent.

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