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KQ net loss down, US gives final flights nod

Steve Umidha @steveumidha

Kenya Airways (KQ) yesterday said its net losses narrowed by 30.8 per cent to Sh4 billion in the half year ended June 2018 from Sh5.6 billion it reported in a similar period last year, as it flew more passengers and increased cargo volume.

The company’s revenues rose by 3.1 per cent to Sh52.19 billion, with a similar growth in the operating expenses which jumped by four per cent to Sh53 billion, blamed on rising global fuel prices.

“Despite reporting positive results, fuel price volatility continues to be a major challenge for us,” said KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz yesterday.

He said that the airline would recommence jet fuel hedging policy to cushion the commodity’s volatility that drove up its operational costs.

KQ’s passenger numbers rose by 6.6 per cent to 2.3 million, as well as a rise in cabin factor which jumped by 75.9 per cent, it said.

The NSE-listed airline yesterday decried increased competition from emerging carriers eating into its network, saying it will from 2019 add new routes in Europe, Middle East and Asia in an effort to counter the popular financially-backed Gulf carriers.

“We continue to optimise the network to create more connections through our hub in Nairobi and in turn increase efficiency in order to reduce overall costs and return to profitability,” said KQ board chairman Michael Joseph.

The airline is counting on October 28 inaugural flight to New York’s JFK Airport from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to bolster its profit margins.

It said that bookings for the inaugural flight to the US was at between 65 and 70 per cent as of the first quarter of the year. KQ will operate a non-stop daily flight to New York with the route further expected to boost the country’s tourist figures.

Kenya Airports Authority said yesterday that JKIA had achieved Last Point of Departures status, becoming one of the exclusive airports to be offered such distinction to fly directly to the US.

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