National carrier Kenya Airways on Tuesday, March 29 announced a Ksh15.8 billion net loss for the year ended December 2021, a 56.58% slide from the Ksh32.6 billion net loss it reported the previous year.
The improvement was driven primarily by higher revenues as total passengers uplifted grew by 25% compared to 2020 but still 57% lower than 2019. The cargo business also grew by 25% compared to 2020 as KQ uplifted 63, 267 tonnes in 2021.
The uptick was attributed to the easing of travel restrictions in key markets after the Covid-19 travel protocols hit the aviation industry hard in 2020.
Announcing the results, board Chair Michael Joseph stated: “During 2021, KQ still felt the impact of Covid–19 due to some restrictions and limitations due to the advent of the Omicron variant, particularly affecting our Dubai and Guangzhou routes but little impact in the European, US and regional routes. This resumption in operations increased the airline‘s capacity by 11.5% over 2020 but remained 65% below the 2019 pre-Covid levels.”
Joseph noted efforts by the management to cut costs and pursue alternative revenue streams took a hit due to restrictions.
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“Management sought alternative revenue streams to replace lost revenue because of various travel restrictions. These revenue sources included air charter services, which increased by 300% and ancillary revenues which increased by 65%. In addition, management have reduced costs by 3.5% and reducing lease rentals for the aircraft by Ksh10 billion,” he stated.
The firm’s operating loss fell significantly from Ksh27.11 billion in 2020 to Ksh6.8 billion in 2021.
Joseph stated that revenues would have been even higher particularly in the fourth quarter of 2021 if not for the travel ban on Kenya by UAE and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
KQ has been on a loss-making streak for the past nine years, with accumulated losses totaling Ksh144.64 billion. It last made a profit in 2012 when it recorded a Ksh1.66B profit after tax.
A supplementary budget before the National Assembly includes a Ksh20 billion state bailout package for Kenya Airways. It emerged on March 17, however, that the company was back to pay cuts with CEO Allan Kilavuka revealing that the bailout had not hit their accounts a month after it was allocated in the supplementary budget.
KQ had reinstated full salaries in 2021 after a drawn out battle with the pilots union.
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