Kenya Airways cuts loss by 40pc on sales growth

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways planes at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya Airways posted an operating profit of Sh10.5 billion.
  • The company plunged into a net loss due to the additional costs.

Kenya Airways narrowed its net loss by 40.6 per cent to Sh22.6 billion in the year ended December, helped by a surge in revenues.

The company had made a net loss of Sh38.2 billion the year before.

Kenya Airways grew its sales 52.8 per cent to Sh178.4 billion as it rebuilt its route network and capacity from the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the global aviation sector.

KQ, as the carrier is known by its international code, recorded an improvement in operational results which were however wiped out by losses on foreign exchange and early lease terminations.

The airline posted an operating profit of Sh10.5 billion, reversing an operating loss of Sh5.6 billion a year earlier.

This reflected the faster growth in revenue compared to operating costs which increased 37.2 percent to Sh167.9 billion.

The company, however, plunged into a net loss due to the additional costs linked to borrowing, foreign exchange movements and lease terminations, among others.

These costs increased to Sh33.5 billion from Sh32.8 billion.

“This impressive performance was, however dampened by Sh24 billion impact on foreign exchange losses on monetary items, loans and leases,” KQ said in a statement.

Its shares remain suspended on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) where they last traded at Sh3.83 on July 2, 2020.

KQ has been increasing its capacity steadily following the resumption of global travel after the Covid-19 pandemic receded, resuming flights to abandoned destinations and increasing frequencies on others.

It has also signed more code share agreements with other carriers where they market and sell each other’s tickets.

“The airline offered to the market a capacity of 14,804 million measured in Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs) up from 10,302 million offered in the prior year,” the company said in a statement.

“This represents 88 percent of the capacity deployed in the pre-pandemic period. The uptake measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) improved by 51 percent.”

ASK measures an airline’s capacity to generate revenue, capturing the available seats and the distance flown.

RPK shows the distance travelled by paying customers, indicating demand for air travel over the period.

The company’s current liabilities exceeded its short term assets by Sh72.6 billion in the review period, underlining the liquidity crisis that has persisted for years amid the losses.

The national carrier says it expects to benefit further from the projected full recovery of the aviation sector this year from the impact of the pandemic, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association.

“Going forward, Kenya Airways Group will continue building on the gains made in the airline’s turnaround strategy, Project Kifaru,” the company said.

The State has helped KQ fund its operations and pay some of its debt as the carrier seeks to bring in a strategic investor.