KQ sub-leases aircraft to Turkish Airlines and Oman Air

HR-777-3Kenya Airways has delivered a second B777-300ER aircraft to Turkish Airlines and a second B787-8 Dreamliner to Oman Air, as part of its sub-lease agreements with the two carriers.

The deals form part of Kenya Airways’ Operation Pride strategy as it seeks to rationalise its excess capacity, through sub-leases and outright sales, while increasing aircraft utilisation.

The delivery of the second B787 to Oman Air completes the transaction of the sub-lease with the Omani carrier, with the agreement lasting for three years.

The deal with Turkish Airlines is for three aircraft to be sub-leased for a period of four to five years, with the final plane (at the time of going to press) due to be de-registered and transferred to Turkey in June.

Earlier this year, KQ sold and delivered two B777-200ERs to Omni Air International, a US charter airline.

Aviation analysts said the shift to leasing is expected to reduce KQ’s debt load and overall capital expenditure, easing pressure on the airline.

Commenting on the deals, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze said: “While it is sad to see brand new aircraft going to other airlines, it is important to understand the context in which we are taking these decisions. We need to close our gap in profitability and rapidly reduce our cost and debt structure.

“Sub-leasing aircraft is a complex process involving significant negotiation and this has taken close to seven months to complete. I want to pay particular tribute to the teams involved in the process for their hard work and dedication to see this through.

“These actions will reduce our monthly fleet costs by more than US$7 million and improve our liquidity, and are part of our strategy to turn Kenya Airways into profitability in the next 18 to 24 months.”

KQ will now operate its long-haul services with the state-of-the-art B787 Dreamliner, of which seven are currently in service, while also employing its B737 and E190 fleets across the rest of its network more efficiently.

Routes: Flights to Cape Town begin

As of 1 July Kenya Airways has commenced flying to Cape Town, South Africa, via Livingstone in Zambia.

The first flight was set to leave Nairobi on 1 July at 7.20am, landing in Livingstone at 9.30am before setting off for Cape Town at 10.20am, arriving in Cape Town at 1.25pm. The return flight departs the South African city at 2.15pm, landing in Livingstone at 5.10pm before taking off at 6pm for Nairobi, touching down in the Kenyan capital at 10pm.

The three-times-a-week service operates on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with the airline’s Embraer 190 aircraft being used on the route. Kenya Airways is the only carrier to offer a direct service between Livingstone and Cape Town, and the route offers excellent connections to the rest of the KQ network.

Turnaround strategy: KQ announces preliminary results of forensic audit

The Board of Directors of Kenya Airways has stated that a forensic audit of the airline, which began in February this year, is already paying dividends.

The objective of the forensic investigation, which is being conducted by Deloitte Consulting, is to review the operations, systems and internal controls of the airline, initially over the last five years, with a view to identifying the sources and magnitude of revenue losses and cashflow leakages, evaluating value for money in capital and other expenditures, and reviewing related areas of governance weakness.

The expected outcomes of the audit include stopping any revenue and cashflow haemorrhages and implementing an effective internal control environment to support and drive the business going forward. The findings of the forensic audit exercise are, therefore, a key input in, and complement, the airline’s ongoing turnaround strategy.

Based on the preliminary results of the investigations, the airline has identified system and internal control weaknesses and continues to implement far-reaching remedial actions. It has also commenced disciplinary proceedings against staff found culpable. These actions include the suspension of staff members in order to facilitate the successful completion of the audit. The company is also evaluating the findings with a view to further action against culpable staff, including potential criminal prosecution and recovery proceedings, as appropriate. Meanwhile, further investigations are continuing.

In order to facilitate the investigations, Deloitte has implemented a tip-off facility by which individuals can relay valuable information in an anonymous manner. This facility is exclusively managed by Deloitte and can be accessed by toll free number 0800 722626 from Safaricom and Airtel/YU mobile networks only. You can also reach Deloitte online at KQ@tip-offs.com or via www.tip-offs.com.

Kenya Airways wishes to thank everyone who has already provided valuable information and encourages all stakeholders, who have yet to do so, to use the tip-off facility to assist in these efforts to clean up the airline, as it aims to return to profitability and to firmly take back its place as the Pride of Africa.

Dreamliner arrives in Lagos

Kenya Airways has introduced its flagship Dreamliner aircraft onto its Nairobi–Lagos route. The move forms part of the airline’s ongoing turnaround strategy, Operation Pride, which includes rationalising its fleet and utilising its aircraft more efficiently.

KQ flies daily to Lagos, as well as four times a week to the Nigerian capital Abuja.

The highly fuel efficient Dreamliner has 234 seats – 30 fully flat in Premier World and 204 in economy. The plane includes 19-inch-tall windows (30 per cent bigger than similar sized aircraft). It has a more spacious interior cabin design, larger overhead bins and ambient mood lighting. A lower cabin altitude means you feel less fatigued on arrival.

Collins Injera breaks Sevens try record

Kenya Airways said it was “an honour” to fly the parents of Collins Injera to London to watch him become the most prolific try scorer in the history of the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series.

Kenya’s record-breaker crossed the try line for the 231st time against France at the London Sevens event, held at Twickenham on 21-22 May, overtaking Argentina’s Santiago Gómez Cora’s 230 mark.

Injera clearly loves playing at Twickenham: he scored his first series try there, played his 50th tournament there, scored his 200th series try there last year and has now become the World Sevens Series all-time leading try scorer – with a little help from his brother Humphrey Kayange, who set him up for the record-breaking score. A delighted Injera sank to his knees, before removing his shirt and running into the stands to hug his parents and give them the jersey.

Injera said: “I have played rugby since high school. Starting out I wanted to go for the record. Now I have reached it, it is a huge thing. Getting [the ball] from my brother… it was a special moment for me.”

Injera’s achievement follows the team’s first-ever World Series event win in Singapore in April.

Kenya Airways, who sponsor the Kenya Sevens team, offered discounted fares to rugby fans to allow them to attend the final two series events in Paris and London.

Did you know?
Planes take off and land into the wind, which is why you may notice planes leaving or approaching the runway from a different direction on certain days. The reason being that, on take off, it allows the aircraft to achieve the necessary lift in a shorter distance over the ground and it also enables it to climb at a steeper angle; if the wind is going in the same direction it is harder for the wings to produce lift. Likewise, on landing, flying into the wind reduces the ground speed, meaning less runway is needed on which to touch down, and less braking is required to stop.