One off flights to Monrovia and Freetown may open the door for a policy review


(Posted 12th January 2014)

Kenya Airways over the weekend made a one off return to both Monrovia and to Freetown, when operating two humanitarian mission flights for the African Union.

The AU chartered two Boeing B737-800NG’s, which reached their final destination via Accra with a full complement of volunteer health workers on board.

Kenya Airways’ Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze led the health officials to State House in Nairobi where the mission received the blessing from President Kenyatta.

We are incredibly honored by the AU who is our corporate client. We won the bid to fly the health officials who are on a mission to assist our brothers through the crisis. This mission in West Africa is an important example of African fighting spirit. It is about Africans finding solutions for Africa. It is important us as Kenya Airways, as we are keen on sustainability of Africa’ did Mr. Ngunze tell the President in his remarks before adding that the two flights could be seen as a trial run for a return to the two West African destinations with scheduled flights in the near future.

Kenya Airways has lost an up to 5 billion Kenya Shillings in revenues and more importantly significant market share to the airlines still on the route like Ethiopian Airlines and urgently in need to reclaim passenger numbers ahead of the end of the Ebola crisis which continues to sweep the two countries.

‘It is a difficult situation for KQ’ said a regular source before adding ‘public health and safety is one issue which prompted the Kenyan government to halt permission to fly to Liberia and Sierra Leone. They responded at the time to a near public panic that Ebola could be brought to Kenya. Firstly though, it could have also been brought to Kenya via for instance Addis or other transit points. Secondly and more important, have isolated outbreaks of the disease in America, Spain and Britain led to improved screening protocols and added safeguards. No case of Ebola came to Kenya though and inspite of some widely reported lapses in the system did the preventive measures work. The 170 volunteers are not on a suicide mission, they are going there to help. They were trained and when their mission is over they will come back home. KQ needs the two destinations in the future for obvious reasons and now is as good a time as any to review the situation with the aim to sooner or later resume flights’.

Kenya Airways, now in Q4 of their financial year, is battling major losses announced at the end of Q2 when Mr. Ngunze had just taken over as CEO and feedback from Nairobi is such that the new man is keen to see major financial improvements take hold during the second half of the financial year to signal to shareholders and the public at large that the tide has turned at Kenya Airways.

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across Eastern Africa.

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