KQThe Kenya Airways is indeed the “Pride of Africa” and should not be allowed to sink. It should therefore continue flying across continental airspaces such as Africa, Europe, Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand despite the operational challenges it is facing today.
The huge loss notwithstanding, Kenya Airways definitely projects positively Kenya’s image globally. The bailout is therefore a necessity and this has received a big boost from the China Southern Airlines through a code-sharing agreement which includes weekly flights. Air connection to China from Kenya was therefore enhanced on Wednesday with the landing of the China Southern Airlines at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

This is the airline’s second direct route to Africa, after they launched flights to Mauritius last year. Over 200 passengers, including top management of the airline made the trip that culminated in the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority. Both airlines will provide 20 flights weekly on the new route.
The maiden flight of China Southern Airlines touched down at Nairobi’s JKIA on Wednesday at 7am. The airline will be flying three times a week to Nairobi from Guangzhou-on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Kenya Airways managing director Mr. Mbuvi Ngunze said the new route will enable KQ customers to connect to further destinations in China with ease.
KQ’s current loss of Sh25.7 billion is however astonishing despite the Government bailed out 10 years ago. However, when it called for help two months ago as cash flow challenges almost brought its operations to a halt, the National Treasury being one of the airline’s major shareholders, advanced a Sh4.2 billion loan.
Its losses were attributed to costly fleet expansion and fewer passenger numbers because of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and negative travel advisories by key tourist source countries.
Other troubles the airline has faced besides the huge loss include improper strategic decisions, rising costs and staff retrenchment case that dented its image.
The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) has called for strong Government involvement in the running and management of KQ’s corporate affairs. It urges the Government to take majority shareholding and undertake total restructuring of the airline.
By increasing its stake in KQ which carries the image of the country according to NTA, the Government will be able to make radical decisions in the proposed bailout and thus salvage the airline’s poor performance.
The entry of China Southern Airlines into the Kenyan and African airspace is timely coming against the backdrop of growing economic ties between China and Africa and as seen in the rising number of Chinese visitors. This will not only significantly boost our efforts to woo investors from China and the larger Asian market but also deepen economic ties between Kenya and Africa.
Sino-African trade ties have grown exponentially over the last six years, with China emerging as the continent’s largest trading partner. Trade volumes between China and Africa are estimated to stand at Ksh23 trillion. China is also a key player in the continent’s energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. The number of Chinese businesses and leisure travellers to Africa has also risen.