Category Archives: KQ 507

KQ hits turbulence

Down: Profits dipped slightly owing to increased competition, and the weakening US dollar. Kudos’ to the NSE for the timely release of company accounts (now if they could only offer .txt alternatives alongside the huge PDF files). Sooner or later a company is going to reach a limit – and either report flat (or declining) revenue or profits, but shareholders don’t take too kindly to the inevitable.

Pilot stabilizes: In the wake of the KQ 507 crash, the airline MD has released a statement on safety issues to quell murmurs that the airline operations were stretched in pursuit of profit. Another statement of reassurance from a former manager.

Up: The airline has been voted Africa’s Leading Airline by readers of Travel News magazine. KQ also won for best regional, local airline, Msafiri magazine and frequent flier programme (with KLM).

Kutwa Tuesday

These are stories I have found (kutwad) and want to share this Tuesday

Getting a story straight: One way of getting your story out through the media is to buy space and have your statement run exactly as you mean it and straight to the public – and there are two recent instances of that.

Street Lights: First is by the CEO of Adopt-A-Light Esther Passaris who launched her transformed street lighting crusade into an anti-poverty and anti-corruption vehicle that may lead her to being the next mayor of Nairobi.

This comes after the City council of Nairobi disowned the contract they had with her company and advertised for other companies to fulfill outdoor lighting & advertising functions which were had been exclusively done by Adopt a light.

What’s in your water bottle?: The second statement is a concerned water expert who is worried that Kenyans may not understand the different types of bottled water being sold – drinking water, natural mineral water, mineral water, carbonated water etc. – and that water bottling companies are being liberal with the advertising truth. He writes that natural mineral water is bottled at source, and with no chemical treatment, which is an expensive process – and he doubts that it is possible for a company actually producing such water, can sell it at the same price as drinking water. I.e. some of the companies are making false claims on their water bottles. He also cautions users to check the amount of fluorine in bottled water as it can lead to bad teeth and bone disease (Should not be more than 1.5mg per litre)

Do they work?: Of course the media love a story waged on their papers and companies such as Kakuzi, Portland cement, Kenya pipeline, Nzoia Sugar and other companies have all bought space (in more than one newspaper) to run statements, usually denying allegations of financial impropriety. There was even an infamous statement defending Anglo Leasing a few years ago.

Esther Passaris took out 2 page advertisements in both the Sunday Nation and Sunday Standard – probably at a total cost of Kshs 1.5 million (840,000 for the Nation, and over 600,000 for the standard)

The media is happy because these statements add to advertising revenue and often lead to other statements and form a base for them to tackle stories that they may have been hesitant to delve into. IMHO, it is unwise for corporations to place such self-serving advertisements especially to deny allegations – the better thing is to lie low and let the bad press (negative stories) pass, plant a few trees & build schools (CSR is good first aid for a scandal wound), answer questions from regulators or authorities – but don’t splash your story in the media!

(See past PR statements by De La Rue and Italians in Malindi.

Communications Wananchi has applied for a data carrier network operator – DCNO license – joining other firms such as KDN, Simbanet, Telkom, UUNET and Access Kenya.

Bounty Hunter: In a Ugandan newspaper, I came across an article (copy here) about the search for Felicien Kabuga who is wanted for his role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The article had more depth than any story I have read in any Kenyan paper (fear of libel laws perhaps), but what continues to amaze me is that despite almost every literate urban Kenyan knowing about the search, a reward on offer of $5m (down to Kshs 335 million at current exchange rate), recent photos of Kabuga that the Nation published a few months ago, and significant evidence that he spends a great deal of time in Kenya – no one (his friends & associates) cares enough, for posterity, or for the reward, to turn this guy in. And now there’s a deadline – as the mandate for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and presumably the reward will expire at the end of 2008.

Brother please! Just came across this story – which at first I thought was from the the Onion or some satire website. But it appears to be a true story – that the wreckage of a six-seater aircraft has been found in Cameroon three months after it crashed. So should we be greatful that the KQ crash site was found within 48 hours?

Money go round: Even as some of the larger pyramid schemes are experiencing cash flow problems, smaller ones are still attracting new investors. In the newspapers every day there are more schemes in the works listed in the classified sections under business opportunity – all offering 16 – 20% returns per month, just for investing a small amount for a weeks.

Real estate The Kenya anti corruption authority (KACA) is seeking land in milimani, upper hill, kilimani or wastelands, presumably to set up a new office building. Lots sought should be 2 to 5 acres in size, close to major road and details should be sent to the Director by June 14.

– On J7 July at the Msambweni divisional office, a case will be heard between Simon Ndungu Karanja vs. Tiomin over his 1.9 ha piece of land
– Gippsland offshore petroleum of Australia is doing an geophysical survey of the Kenya coast (kipini area, ungama bay)
– Tile & carpet center are prospecting for carbon dioxide in (Kereita forest) of Kiambu district
– Oil giant Halliburton is moving is headquarters from Houston to Dubai!

Plane Perspective – Part II

Adieu 5Y KYA

Part I

More pictures of the ill-fated aircraft

5Y-KYA, a 737-800, was leased aircraft from the Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) (now owned by the Bank of China). Why leased? At the airline’s 2005 AGM management said that, with their strong financial footing, KQ was now able to lease new aircraft which confers many advantages over buying new aircraft for a rapidly expanding airline. The lease deal was signed in September 2005

The first new 737-800 was delivered in October 2006 to KQ directly from Boeing, the manufacturer and replaced smaller 737’s on many of the airlines existing and new routes.

It was a larger aircraft with improved safety features. The aircraft (was) equipped with a Heads-Up Display (HUD) system that projects key navigational data directly in front of pilots, allowing for safer operation in difficult conditions such as inclement weather or problematic navigational terrain.

It is also no comfort to families and relatives of the passengers, but the tragedy could have been worse if the airline had used the usual, and larger, 767 aircraft that night.

Final word

Kenya Airways is expected to release its year-end results at the end of the month, and the 3rd quarter results showed strong growth in Asia, Eastern African and an overall 13% growth on (non-Kenyan) Africa routes.

The company should be unaffected by the loss in the long-term, nor should its share price. The leased aircraft will be immediately replaced and with proper & timely insurance response, careful PR management and investigation of the accident, the airline should pull through.

Plane perspective

Condolences to all the family members of passengers and staff of the airline.

This is a tragic time, as are all plane crashes when they happen. This time, it has happened to Kenya Airways (KQ), an airline with an exemplary safety level.

I flew on KQ this week and will gladly fly with them tomorrow or any other day. It is an unpleasant fact of life that anything could happen to me – the next time I get into a car, light a match, walk onto a sports field, step into a bathtub, enter a building, or board a plane.

The question of air crashes in Africa should not arise – they happen all around the world. Yes, there are bad airlines, but it is not an African thing. Poorly run airlines do not last for very long as passengers avoid them (unless they have no alternative) and authorities (should) step in and shut them down. The (unfortunate) passenger list produced by KQ is an endorsement of the high regard that other nations have for the airline.

Plane crashes should never happen and when they do, one plane crash should not be a matter of concern. It is only when an airline, or airport, or country has a series of avoidable crashes that the aviation world and public take notice and realize that’s something is wrong. In 2006, questions were asked about Nigeria and Indonesia) – and often old aircraft or unsafe regions are factors. The 737-800 was the newest aircraft at the airline which has continually upgraded its fleet to meet the highest standards of service and safety.

KQ should keep on flying high and remain the Pride of Africa

Plane I flew