Kenya Airways’ Q1 performance impresses aviation pundits


(Posted 01st August 2013)

Kenya Airways’ performance in Q1, covering April to June 2013, has in comparison with 2012 dramatically improved, telling the story of Kenya putting the pre-election jitters firmly behind them and consequently ringing in a period of economic recovery and expansion.

KQ put offered a total capacity of 3,464m seat kilometres which gives a year on year growth of 3 percent. During the quarter under review the airline also launched three weekly flights into Livingstone, the third destination in Zambia after Lusaka and Ndola.

The capacity into Middle and Far East regions grew by 12.8 percent, largely driven by the introduction of daily flights to Guangzhou via Bangkok combining with the increased deployment of larger B777 equipment to Bombay. Capacity put into Europe was at par with same quarter of prior year despite the withdrawal from Rome, mainly because of two additional weekly frequencies to Paris.

The total capacity offered into the Northern African region remained flat compared to prior year despite the introduction of a third daily frequency to Juba because of the inevitable cutbacks made to Cairo following the volatile political situation in Egypt. The capacity offered in East Africa region grew by 12.9 percent occasioned by increased early morning departures to Entebbe, which is now served 5 times a day and additional Dar-es-Salaam frequencies and daily night stops.

Capacity in Southern Africa region grew by 10.4 percent largely because of the increased night time operations into Lusaka and Lilongwe as well as the introduction of Livingstone. The 10.9 percent decline in capacity seen in the West and Central African regions was driven mainly by the suspension of Bangui, Ouagadougou, N’Djamena and Libreville destinations due to reduced demand.

On the domestic front, capacity grew by 11.6 percent compared to same quarter last year due to the re-launch of Eldoret in October 2012 and the additional two daily flights into Kisumu including a night stop.

Passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres at 2,330m grew by 5.8 percent ahead of the same quarter last year. The total passenger carrying at 932,912 was 10.9 percent more compared to similar period last year achieving a cabin factor of 67.3 percent against prior year’s level of 65.5 percent.

The passenger uplift to Europe at 90,517 shows some recovery compared to last year’s level with an achieved cabin factor of 68.5 percent being better than prior year’s 66.8 percent.

In the Middle and Far East regions, uplifted passenger traffic at 139,275 showed a 12.3 percent improvement over the year 2012. The cabin load factor of 70.2 percent for flights to and from this region was 2.1 percentage points better than last year.

Within Africa but excluding Kenya, passengers uplifted totalled 480,604 indicating a growth of 9.4 percent because of the reasons already mentioned earlier. The resultant passenger cabin factor of 63.7 percent was however unchanged from a year ago.

Notably did the passengers uplifted within Kenya at 222,516 grow by 22.1 percent with an improved cabin load factor of 76.8 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points due to the resurgence of business traffic in the country.

Early indications for July, the first month of Q2, suggest a continued trend as seen emerge from Q1 of the airline’s financial year, giving hope for significant financial improvements on the bottom line too. Watch this space for emerging news from East Africa’s aviation industry.

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