KENYA AIRWAYS LOOKS AT EXPANSION AGAIN AND ‘PLAN MAWINGO‘FOOTPRINTS EVERYWHERE
(Posted 25th March 2018)
(Original Plan Mawingo map of planned destinations by 2021)
Going by the latest noises coming out of the head office of Kenya Airways, talking confidently about an expansion of destinations and fleet, did memories lead me back to the days of ‘Plan Mawingo‘ when Kenya’s national airline mapped out their future, aiming to catch up with rival neighbours Ethiopian Airlines if not to overtaken them.
These visions developed in the early part of the decade were then rudely disrupted by a perfect economic storm which involved massive anti travel advisories against Kenya following a spate of Al Shabaab attacks on the country, a weakening of the European economies – key source markets for Kenya’s tourism industry – sharply risen fuel cost, militant unions almost bringing the airline to its knees and then of course the dreaded Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the effects of which were felt across the continent.
While having to announce a further loss of around 60 million US Dollars just a few days ago during the regular investors briefing, were however new tunes also coming from the CEO / Chairman panel, with Mr. Mikosk quoted to have raised the possibility of adding as many as 20 more routes again in coming years, mainly across Africa – the bread and butter business of KQ – but also into Europe, Asia and beyond.
This hymn sheet clearly seems to contain sound bites of the no doubt dusted and freshly looked at ‘Plan Mawingo‘ which was fundamentally sound, ambitious but hit by circumstances beyond the airline’s control when trying to roll it out.
(Original fleet projections of Plan Mawingo)
While the Board of Directors will consider the re-drafted proposals for growth during their next meeting in April have plans already shaped up to facilitate this leap into new skies with the recall of the two leased out Boeing B787 Dreamliners from Oman Air but also of some of the leased out Boeing B777’s, for which the airline however would need to look for pilots with the type rating for this aircraft type after controversially retiring a number of them when the B777’s left the fleet.
While admittedly the new plans sound much more conservative and have probably dropped the unwritten intent of ‘Plan Mawingo‘ to outperform Ethiopian Airlines are the eyes of Kenya Airways nevertheless now set again on growth, a positive development given the financial troubles of the past few years when lossed piled up to the point of almost bankrupting the airline – they were technically insolvent for a while – before the Kenyan government stepped in and stepped up, increasing their own shareholding to just under 50 percent and literally dragging bank creditors kicking and screaming into a scheme of having to convert the airline’s debts into equity, making the banking consortium the second largest shareholder of the airline.
Main casualties though were small and institutional shareholders of Kenya Airways who saw their holdings clipped to be worth next to nothing any longer, compared to the percentage they held before.
It goes to conclude that while Kenya Airways is still writing red balance sheets the future now looks brighter, if fuel prices are not going through the roof again.
That said, a second big if looms large and only if Kenya’s militant aviation unions can be kept in check – the sort of trouble rival neighbours Ethiopian simply to not have to contend with, will the flight into new skies by Kenya Airways be successful.
Find added information through related articles posted here in the past: