, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – Kenya Airways has assured its shareholders that it will turn the losses experienced in the period ended March 2013 into profit in the next financial year.
Kenya Airways Managing Director Titus Naikuni says the airline has set targets to achieve cost saving in all areas of the business by improving work practices.
Naikuni says already, the five months of the 2014 financial year look promising with more improvement in number of passengers compared to the same period last year.
He says the maintenance cost has also gone down in the five months period due to the new fleet acquired that are more fuel efficient compared to the old ones.
“Revenues have improved and costs have gone down in this five months of the 2014 financial year attributed to the new Embraers which are more fuel efficient compared to the older 737s,” he said.
The shareholders were concerned with the airline’s continued performance with no dividends issued for the last two consecutive financial years.
“We experienced an extremely difficult operating environment. Despite the challenges, we remain committed to turning around the business by implementing various initiatives that are aimed at facilitating sustained recovery,” he assured shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Naikuni also revealed that the airline’s new low-cost carrier subsidiary Jambo Jet Limited is set to take off in the first calendar quarter of 2014.
He said that airline will be using some of the fleet they have been using initially before buying new fleet for the regional airline.
“We will be targeting a market in Kenya. We will be targeting Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret as the demand and infrastructure grows,” he said.
Earlier, the Kenya Airways Board of Directors appointed Willem Hondius as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jambo Jet Limited.
Naikuni also revealed that the Westgate siege that has left about 67 dead and more about 175 injured did not have any negative impact on the airline so far.
“The impact of this very unfortunate incident hasn’t been felt yet, we are going to give it time and see what happens,” he said.
He urged countries not to issue any travel advisories pointing out that Kenya is a safe place.
“Yes it has happened in Westgate but we have the whole of Kenya that is safe, they should not give travel advisories,” he said.
Kenya Airways recorded a Sh7.8 billion loss after tax in the financial year ended March, a significant drop from the Sh1.6 billion profit posted last year.
The airline attributed the massive loss to harsh economic and geopolitical conditions and sustained under-performance of the European economy and high fuel prices.