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KQ board asks parliament to fast track nationalization of airline

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25-The board of Kenya Airways has urged the National Assembly to fast track the nationalization of the airline by approving the National Aviation Management Bill, 2020.

KQ board Chairperson Michael Joseph said the nationalization process is currently out of the board’s control and they are exploring other options that will ensure the survival of the airline, as they await the passing of the bill currently waiting in parliament.

“The nationalization process is out of our control…in the meantime, we continue to look for other alternative ways in which we can ensure the future of Kenya Airways,” said Joseph.

Last year, members of Parliament halted debate on the National Aviation Management Bill, 2020 citing that it lacked the input of Kenyans and other stakeholders in line with the Constitution, reversing the government’s target of nationalizing the airline by October 2020.

The lawmakers in 2019 voted to nationalize Kenya Airways to save it from mounting debts.

The airline was privatized 24 years ago but sank into debt and losses in 2014.

According to Joseph, the board and the management are keen to investigate opportunities such as consolidation that other major international airlines adapted to keep the business afloat in times of COVID-19.

“ The consolidation in the airline industry is what is going to happen, in our world and in Europe, you will see more consolidation happening, we need to look at these opportunities and explore them as they come our way,” he added.

The airline reported losses worth Sh36.2 billion in the 2020 financial year, the worst it has ever reported, owing to disruptions occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

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During the release of the financial statement, KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka painted a bleak outlook for the airline due to the ongoing shutdown in other countries that are a major boost to the aviation industry.

“Every time we think we are picking up, there is a restriction in a country or a third wave of COVID-19,” Kilavuka said.

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