Kenya Airways (KQ) announced their full-year results in Nairobi this morning covering the nine-month period April to December 2017, as in a change for past years, they have shifted their year-end to December to be in line with their airline partners. It was tough to compare 2017 to 2016 which was a full year but it was a significant year in which the airline completed a capital optimization to wipe out a deficit in their balance sheet which was achieved by Kenyan banks converting debt into equity, and becoming the second-largest shareholder (38.1%) after the Kenya Government who also funded their airline with cash and guarantees as their shareholding went up to 49%.
CEO Sebastian Mikosz said that fuel prices (which went up from about $52 to $62 in the year combined with elections (which included a 20% drop in East African domestic travel) had the biggest impact on the bottom line. He said that they flew 3.4 million passengers with a 76.2 average cabin factor and 8.1million revenue kilometers and increased frequencies to Cape Town, and added a new route to Victoria Falls. He
Acting CFO Hellen Mwariri read the results which included an operating profit Kshs 1.3 billion and a loss after tax of Kshs 6.1 billion. This was from revenue of Kshs 81 billion (compared to Kshs 106 billion in the full year before) and with assets at year-end of Kshs 140 billion (146 billion the year before) and they had also wiped out the negative equity position that went from minus Kshs 44 billion to minus 4 billion.
Mikosz spoke of the need to get more revenue from Kenya Airways corporate brands – Jambojet, Technical (servicing their own aircraft and they gained two external customers in the year), Cargo, Pride (training), and Holidays. He also spoke of network optimization at the airline – adding New York flights, new routes to Mauritius and Cape Town, and using more Q400 turboprops on short regional routes. Kenya Airways will also be enlarging their joint-venture with KLM to now include Air France and will KQ introduce an “economy comfort” product in all aircraft in the next 12-15 months, something that is popular with European partners customers. They have also recalled a Boeing 787, that they had sub-leased Oman Air, which they will now use on the New York route from October.
Mikosz said he was not a big fan of “open skies” that African nations were pushing for as Africa was not like Europe that regulated and policed open skies and was able to monitor the competitive space and the support availed to all airlines and the levels of state protection.