Kenya Airways, clearly defying its critics with their determination to cut costs and streamline operations, has this week delivered a second of three Boeing B777-300ER to Turkish Airlines, while the third aircraft under this multi year lease is due to be flown to Istanbul next week.
Oman Air in the meantime received the second of the two Boeing B787-8 Dreamliners, on lease to that airline for three years.
Previously had KQ sold two B777-200ER’s to America’s Omni Air International, substantially reducing the number of aircraft on its fleet overall and emptying the parking area outside their Embakasi Headoffice.
Mr. Mbuvi Ngunze, CEO of Kenya Airways, commented earlier today on the deals when he said: ‘While it is sad to see brand new aircraft going to other airlines, is it important to understand the context in which we are taking these decisions. We need to close our gap in profitability and rapidly reduce out cost and debt structure. Subleasing aircraft is a complex process involving significant negotiations and this has taken close to seven months to complete. I want to pay particular tribute to the teams involved in the process for their hard work and dedication to see this through. These actions will reduce our monthly fleet costs by over $7 million, and improve our liquidity, and is part of our strategy to turn Kenya Airways into profitability in the next 18 to 24 months’.
All measures taken by the airline appear to have the stamp of approval from both the Kenyan government and from KLM, the two major shareholders, which have thrown their weight behind what is now known as ‘Operation Pride’. Operational changes, staff reductions, asset shortening and other measures, all aimed to reduce the monthly cost and return the airline to profitability within an estimated two years time, have all been carefully evaluated before being put before the Board of Directors for approval.
This leaves in particular KALPA, the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association, foaming from the mouth as the management of Kenya Airways did not give in to misguided ultimatums to step down but instead, undeterred by threat after threat, continued to work towards meeting their newly set goals.
This leaves Kenya Airways now with a fleet of seven B787-8 aircraft for its long haul operations, B737-700’s and B737-800’s for short and medium distance routes with more demand for seats and the Embraer E190’s for domestic, near regional and African routes with lesser demand for seats.
The sale and leasing out of aircraft has reduced the Kenya Airways fleet to now 36 aircraft with which the airline serves over 40 African destinations, including domestic routes in Kenya and 9 intercontinental destinations including London, Amsterdam, Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Hanoi.