Kenya airways resumes international flights to nearly 30 destinations

by Maruf Adedeji

Kenyan Airways has resumed international flights to about 30 destinations on Saturday, 1 August, 2020, following a suspension of routes since March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The country’s carrier, which is supported by Air France, resumed domestic flights in mid-July after the government cleared local air travel.

While disclosing this on Saturday August 1, 2020, Kenyan Airline’s chief executive officer, Allan Kilavuka, said that they announced that the airline would be starting with 27 destinations, but they had increased it to 30 just following demand.

Kilavuka said, during a ceremony ahead of seeing off a flight to London, that the airline expected demand to remain below 50% of capacity for the rest of the year, but it would increase flight frequencies based on demand.

“In fact, in 2020, we call it a lost year because at some point we even see demand of 25% in some months, and some months we see 38%,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has depressed the global aviation industry, with African carriers alone expected to lose $6 billion in revenue this year.

Earlier in July, Kenya Airways announced that it would lay off an undisclosed number of its staff, reduce its network and offload some assets due to the coronavirus crisis.

Kilavuka said the carrier had laid off about 650 people, mostly trainee pilots, trainee cabin crew, technician trainees and newly hired staff on probation.

“What I have to emphasize though is it’s not because we want to. Those employees have done nothing wrong. They are very good employees. It’s just that we cannot afford to keep them,” he said.

Kenya Airways was struggling hard right before the coronavirus outbreak, with almost 13 billion shillings ($120 million) losses in 2019.

In July, Kenyan Airways lost its shares for three months due to suspension by Nairobi Security Exchange, citing the government’s plan to restructure the carrier.

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