Businessman Chris Kirubi, who only last week termed Kenya Airways loss as bullshit, now wants Kenyans to fund the airline’s bailout.
Mr Kirubi, speaking on Citizen TV last night, appeared to have been mellowed by the presence of the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on the panel. Suddenly, Mr Kirubi, a man known to speak his mind but at the same time shrewd at massaging the egos of the powers that be, had lots of praises for the ‘pride of Africa’ that must be kept in the skies in spite of the Ksh29bn loss even if it means Kenyans digging deeper into their pockets.
“As Kenyans we are ready to save Kenya Airways even if it means the government introducing some tax on everybody,” he said, as Mr Rotich smiled the moment away. He defended the loss saying the airline found itself in tough situations.
Mr Rotich, however, maintained a strong stance, saying Kenya Airways will be scrutinised by the National Treasury before any bailout plan is put in place. He said the National Treasury will have to establish how the national carrier incurred such a huge loss announced last week before considering a bailout.
It has emerged that the firm will require Ksh60 billion to restore its normal operations. “We are seeking to understand what exactly led to Ksh25.7 billion loss and what intervention is needed to turn around the airline’s financials,” said Mr Rotich.
The Ministry and auditors will investigate the airline over its cost structures, including leases, fuel purchasing plans and staff remuneration to determine the exact figure to revive the airline. Mr Rotich added: “We are also going to review our level of involvement with the board, and any neglect will definitely lead to an overhaul”.
He said while the environment under which KQ has been operating has been challenging, with a solid plan, the firm can be turned around. He added that the national airline’s management and the National Treasury would heavily rely on the expert’s plan to make the firm realise profits.