Kenya aviation news – KQ’s half year briefing on results and investors prospects

The Pride of Africa was in the news again yesterday when presenting the half year financial results and giving a broad investors preview and review over the months coming and past. Data given showed significant advances in most areas though words of caution over the outlook were also voiced, a fair warning considering the level of fuel prices and the weakening global economy as a whole.
Notable developments mentioned were the net increase in fleet size from 30 in 2010 to now 33 in 2011, the additions being Embraer E190 jets, of which three more are due to join between May and September 2012, while the departure of an older B767 was made up by the arrival of a B737-300, according to the statistics provided to this correspondent by KQs corporate communications manager Chris Karanja. That said, considering pending aircraft orders for the B787 9 in total with 4 more options and of Embraer aircraft the airline recently committed to, the fleet size will in coming years nearly double. Along this line it was also announced that Kenya Airways would send a further 100 pilot trainees to their preferred South African but also other aviation schools to have enough young pilots ready when the new planes get delivered.
It was also announced that new passenger lounges would be opened in December 2011 while hope was expressed that by December 2012 the new terminal 4 at JKIA would be ready and finally provide relief to passengers, of Kenya Airways but also other airlines, from the eternal congestion the airports suffers from. Conservationists will also be happy to learn that KQ has committed 1 million Kenya Shillings towards the establishment of a wildlife conservation centre at Hells Gate National Park.
Additional attention was generated over the presented preview of airport infrastructure developments, which are long overdue and have choked KQs expansion plans through sheer physical restrictions on the number of parking positions, lounges available, terminal spaces and the absence of a second runway to ensure uninterrupted operations in case of one runway becoming unserviceable.

(Graphic courtesy of Kenya Airways)

Observers however immediately jumped on the 2018 date for the second runway and many pundits agree with this correspondent that this project must be brought forward to between 2014 and 2015, to facilitate not only the growth of Kenya Airways but also facilitate the coming to Nairobi of a host of international airlines eyeing flights to Kenya but being put off by operational constraints, lack of facilities and the absence of runway redundancy at East Africas most important aviation hub. Said on when discussing the presentations yesterday: It is a simple fact that Kenya Airport Authority has overslept. The ongoing improvements and expansion should have happened years ago, should be ready by now. Passengers complain about the congestion in the terminal, aircraft parking space at peak times is in short supply and this is not the picture Kenya wants to give to people arriving on business or for a holiday, or when leaving for home. The second runway must be brought forward because 2018 is too far away and a single runway will be chocked with traffic, and one little issue will be a bad day for all concerned when traffic has to go to Mombasa or Entebbe.
Watch this space as more information becomes available in coming months and be sure to read updates right here.