Looking Back: When KQ was K7

Today, I visited my stockbroker to collect a check from selling Kenya Airways stock that I got in their IPO 10 years ago. I found that the place was even more crowded by people opening CDS accounts, and most of the people coming in from downstairs were all asking watchmen and clerks, “Where do I register for the Kengen IPO?”

The lobby has several annual reports for people to peruse, one of them being the Kenya Airways annual report & accounts from 1996, and which I found to be a nice read. Some highlights;

  • 1996 was a momentous year, in which KLM had bought 26% of the airline (Dec ’95) after which the Government sold a further 51% to both Kenyan and overseas investors.
  • KQ was K7: Kenya Airways was and still is branded the “PRIDE OF AFRICA”
  • Turnover for the year was 10 billion shillings, and after-tax profit was 1.5 billion. This was down from 2.2 billion the year before and was largely attributed to an exceptional payment of 411 million to settle pilot salary arrears.
  • Employees were each given 1,000 shares alongside a subsided loan scheme to enable them to buy more shares- resulting in k7 employees owning 3% of the company.
  • Isaac Omolo Okero was chairman of a board that included, among others, Benjamin Kipkulei, Amos Wako, Hosea Kiplagat, Stanley Murage and the late Phillip Ndegwa who had passed away in January 96.
  • Effects of the gulf war were subsiding and Sub-Saharan economies were projected to grow at 7% over the next five years.
  • Issues of concern at the airline were punctuality (K7 trumpeted that “punctuality improved to reach its target of 90% of flights departing within 15 minutes of schedule) and passenger complaints (“There was a 20% reduction in pax complaints from the year before”).
  • In IT, K7 was working to switch to KLM computer check-in systems by December 1996. Also, to improve customer service, new telephone PABX systems had been installed at Nairobi and Mombasa airports to take advantage of a new fibre-optic link installed by KP&TC. Also, all switchboard personnel had been trained in customer service and the number of staff answering calls had been increased.
  • Kenya Airways frequent flyer program or Msafiri had 765 members.
  • Two 737-700 had been ordered to cater for regional expansion services and which would replace 737-200. The premier class cabins of the Airbus planes had been expanded form 12 to 18 seats and a new in-flight entertainment system had been installed, mainly to serve the Heathrow – Nairobi route where K7 was the only airline offering non-stop service.

One thought on “Looking Back: When KQ was K7

  1. Ntwiga


    Quick question, where did you get the info to the effect that KPTC had a Nairobi-Mombasa fiber link? I am interested into researching that a little more since I thought that it was only KPC that had a (non-fiber) link.


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