Kenya Airways announces suspension of New Delhi flights as cost cutting measures come into effect


(Posted 26th November 2014)

The recently concluded Annual General Meeting of Kenya Airways, held last week at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, also provided the opportunity for shareholders to vote two new board members into office, filling two vacancies which arose through retirement of the previous office holders who did not offer themselves for re-election.

Both positions were taken by ladies, both from the financial services sector, giving hope that their expertise will come in handy at board meetings in dealing with the financial challenges the airline presently faces.

Mrs. Wanjiku Mugane, who presently runs Fedha Connect, previously headed Standard Chartered Securities and also served on the board of directors of Equity Bank while her new co-director, Mrs. Armstrong-Ogwapit, currently works at the Housing Finance Corporation as Director for Strategic Projects.

Other long serving board members include the Chairman of the Board Mr. Evanson Mwaniki, Dinesh Kapila, Muli Nduva, Dennis Awori, Dr. Kamau Thugge, A. Makatiani, Vincent Rague, Ron Schipper and Pieter Elbers, the latter two representing KLM which is, besides the Kenyan government, the second largest shareholder in Kenya Airways. Also on the board serve the new Group Managing Director and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze and Finance Director Alex Mbugua.

In a related development has Kenya Airways yesterday announced the suspension of flights to New Delhi following a review of the performance of routes vis a vis load factors and related considerations, and it is understood that this ongoing review, aimed to save money following the losses announced during the AGM for the financial year 2013/14 and the H1 2014/15 Investor’s Briefing two weeks earlier. Said a source close to the airline when making enquiries yesterday as the news about the Delhi route became known: ‘Every route will now have to pull its weight. When a route cannot break even or make profits within a certain period of time, it will have to make way to use the aircraft on routes which make financial contributions. While it has not been said explicityly, even the plan to connect every African political and commercial capital by the end of next year may be pushed further because right now, making money is the primary objective. The suspension of flights to West Africa’s Ebola zone has left a deep hole in revenues and the airline now does what must be done to reverse the losses and return to profitability. That will require some sacrifices and cost savings on all fronts will be paramount to achieve that goal’.

Welcome to the new faces on the Kenya Airways’ board of directors.