NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 21 – Business magnate and industrialist Dr Chris Kirubi has explained his reason for buying two million shares of Kenya Airways, saying the national carrier needs to be rescued by investors and not debt.
The businessman bought about Sh11 million worth of stock in the airline which recently declared a Sh25.7 billion net loss – the highest ever in Kenya’s corporate history.
“Like a fireman who goes into a burning house to save what he can, I have decided to buy Kenya Airways shares,” he said.
“We cannot wait too long, the loans are hurting the company, travellers are finding new routes and the shilling is depreciating; the sooner we start supporting the carrier, the better.”
Dr Kirubi has therefore asked the government and Kenyans to be patient with the carrier as it rises to its former glory, as he also called for a professional diagnosis on what brought down Kenya Airways.
According to the business magnate, a special organization is needed to analyze how the company is being operated in order to determine what went wrong leading to the losses the carrier has been making.
“We need an organization that will relook into the company’s model, its financial flows, its market destinations and its passenger capacity, its type of planes and where there is a lot of traffic that can bring in more business.”
He added that the government needs to take proactive steps to solve the airline’s problems. For instance, sending marketers to destinations where Kenya Airways can explore into to further its business.
Kirubi also expressed opposition to having an open sky as a means of bringing more foreign investment into the country’s aviation sector.
According to the industrialist, the open sky policy is a fallacy and not a viable solution to strengthening Kenya Airways; rather, it is crippling the carrier.
“The government needs to adopt policies such as those taken up by Dubai where Emirates Airways enjoys massive support from its government. For instance, Emirates is given privileges such as certain tax exemptions,” he argued.