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Ruto urges MPs to salvage KQ by giving due consideration in JKIA deal

Deputy President William Ruto said that the airline heavily contributes to the country’s tourism and horticulture sectors which two of the biggest foreign exchange earners and must not be allowed to go down/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Deputy President William Ruto has urged the National Assembly to give due consideration to a proposal that will transfer the operations of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Kenya Airports Authority to Kenya Airways.

Speaking during the launch of the State of the Judiciary report, Ruto said Kenya Airways is a key anchor in the economy and that the proposal is an important step in the recovering of the national carrier.

He said that the airline heavily contributes to the country’s tourism and horticulture sectors which two of the biggest foreign exchange earners.

“It will be irresponsible of us as a Government to allow Kenya Airways to go down because if it does, it will go down with the Airports Authority because 70 percent of the revenue it collects comes from Kenya Airways,” said Ruto.

According to the KAA Board, the Authority will collect Sh2.9 billion if the partnership – which exempts KQ from paying certain fees – is passed compared to Sh7 billion it gets from JKIA annually.

He further clarified that the Cabinet has not yet settled on a final structure of the tie-up between KQ and JKIA hence it is premature to shoot down the proposal, terming the house committee hearings as ‘toxic’ by claiming the Government wants to sell state assets.

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“The cabinet has just approved a transaction to be put together so that we can find a befitting mechanism that will ensure Kenya Airways survives and ensure that these national assets can be optimally be used,” added Ruto.

He requested the legislator to give the executive space to structure the final partnership and added that the MPs will have their input once the cabinet approves the final proposal.

The Public Investment Committee and the Transport has expressed reservations of the proposed partnership citing it would be to the disadvantage of the Airport Authority.

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