Kenya Airways reports first operating profit in seven yearsTue, 26 Mar 2024 16:35:21 GMT

Kenya’s troubled flag carrier Kenya Airways said Tuesday it had recorded an operating profit in 2023, its first in seven years.The figure of 10.5 billion Kenyan shillings (about $80 million) for the year ended December 31 represents a sharp turnaround from an operating loss of 5.6 billion shillings in 2022, with chairman Michael Joseph hailing it as a “significant milestone”.The airline, whose biggest shareholder is the Kenyan government, also said in a statement that its loss after tax had reduced to almost 23 billion shillings from more than 38 billion shillings the year before.Total revenue for the year surged by 53 percent to 178 billion shillings, which the airline attributed mainly to a 35 percent growth in passenger numbers to 5.04 million, according to its audited results statement.Kenya Airways has been labouring under a mountain of debt and running losses for years despite numerous government bailouts, and like the aviation industry as a whole it was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.”These figures highlight the airline’s remarkable performance over the year and provide encouraging signs of continued recovery within the air transportation sector,” Joseph said in a statement.”They also confirm the operational viability of the airline business and demonstrate that the management’s ongoing efforts to restore profitability are yielding positive results.”CEO Allan Kilavuka said the company’s focus in the near term was on completing a “capital restructuring plan whose main objectives are to reduce the company’s financial leverage and increase liquidity”.The government owns a 48.9 percent stake in Kenya Airways, while Air France-KLM has 7.8 percent.The airline was founded in 1977 following the demise of East African Airways and now flies to 45 destinations across the globe, 37 of them in Africa.