Kenya Airways was born out of the collapse of the East African Community in 1977.

Kenya Airways has appointed Sebastian Mikosz as group Managing Director and CEO effective 1st June 2017 to replace Mbuvi Ngunze.

The fact that the position has been given to a foreigner has raised interest in Kenya Airways, with many wondering why the national airline is abbreviated as KQ and not KA, as many would have expected.

BUSINESS TODAY takes you down memory lane and gives you the history lane of the airline that gives perspective to this sort of ‘anomaly’.

Kenya Airways was initially East African Airways. Founded in 1946, the regional airline served Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and had its headquarters in Nairobi.

The relations between the three countries, however, did not last long and led to the collapse of East African Community in 1977, which subsequently ended East African Airways.

In 1977 Kenya Airways was born out of East African Airways. By that time Korea already had its aviation industry running (Korean Air) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had already assigned it the code ‘KA’.

By coming in ‘late’ for the code, Kenya was assigned the code KQ and it is the reason Kenya Airways is referred to as KQ, and not KA.

IATA works with airlines across the world to promote their safety and reliability. IATA also sets standards for the aviation business from packaging to ticketing.

Related: Quick facts about Kenya Airways new CEO, Sebastian Mikosz

Kenya Airways was wholly owned by the Government of Kenya until April 1995, when it was privatised in 1996, becoming the first African flag carrier to successfully do so.

The largest shareholder is the Government of Kenya (29.8.%), followed by KLM, which has a 26.73% stake in the company. The rest of the shares are held by private owners and its shares are traded on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, and the Uganda Securities Exchange.

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