National Carrier Kenya Airways has suffered $8 million (Sh800 million) in losses over the suspension of the Nairobi-Guangzhou route due to the outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus. Kenyan Wallstreet reported on Monday.
The publication quoted Interim KQ Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka saying that the losses cover both the passenger and cargo segment of the airline’s business which lists China as a key cargo origin and main feeder to regional freighters.
KQ suspended flights to Guangzhou on January 31 amid concerns that the carrier was prioritizing its business to the detriment of the safety of Kenyans.
Before the outbreak of the virus, KQ flew to Guangzhou three times a week.
President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to the United States earlier this month gave an insight into the rationale behind suspending flights to the world’s second-largest economy.
“We have stopped our flight into Chinese cities. All I can say is that there is no politics here. We don’t have the capacity to build a hospital in seven days,” Uhuru said.
President Kenyatta also said that the government would help Kenyan students trapped in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus but the government’s promise seems to be just that as a number of Kenyans trapped in the Chinese province fearing for their lives have been taking to social media begging for evacuation after exhausting their supplies.
The Head of State went a step further by asking the Ethiopian Government to suspend flights to China as a measure to protect East Africa’s porous health systems.
Besides KQ, a number of regional airlines have suspended flights to the Asian country including East African Airlines, Air Tanzania and Rwandair.