Kenya Airways Seeks Gov’t Support to Survive Foreign Competition

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Kenya Airways has begun discussions with the Kenyan government to help it cope with competition from foreign carriers operating on the Nairobi route.

Michael Joseph, Chairman of the airline carrier, said his outfit is restructuring its finances to cut huge debts and reduce finance costs to help it return to profitability after years of losses, and that it needed some support from the government to be able to stay competitive.

He said: “We started out these negotiations both with KAA (Kenya Airports Authority) and ourselves and the government to see how we can better protect us,”

Kenya Airways, which is part-owned by the state and Air France-KLM, has been recorded losses, caused by a slump in tourism due to frequent attacks in Kenya by militants from neighbouring Somalia.

The company situation was further compounded during a period when the airline was taking on debt to buy new planes, allowing Gulf-based rivals ratcheted up the competition.

According to Mr Jpseph, some of the foreign carriers enjoy substantial state support including subsidies, adding: “We don’t want to close our airspace.”

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