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September 22, 2018

Kenya Airways plan to run JKIA shelved

Kenya Airports Authority CEO Jonny Andersen during a meeting with Parliamentary Public Investment Committee on the audit of land owed by the Authority on February 27, 2018 /JACK OWUOR
Kenya Airports Authority CEO Jonny Andersen during a meeting with Parliamentary Public Investment Committee on the audit of land owed by the Authority on February 27, 2018 /JACK OWUOR

The proposed Kenya Airways and Kenya Airport Authority merger is not coming soon.

KAA managing director Jonny Andersen said nothing conclusive has so far come out of the discussions.

In June, the Cabinet in a policy statement said the planned merger was part of the financial restructuring plan to save the listed national carrier from collapsing.

It was also expected to reposition and model the airline's operations along that of its main rival Ethiopian Airlines which runs Addis Ababa's Bole International airport.

The public-private partnership was expected to be signed this month, and would have seen Kenya Airways take over all the staff and operations of the KAA in order to expand the range of its services to include ground handling, maintenance, catering, warehousing and cargo.

“The government gave us the proposal to see how the agreement would save KQ and increase operations within JKIA, but this has not resulted to any possible conclusions. Therefore, the merger should not be expected anytime soon,” Andersen said during the launch of Aviation Business Excellence Award in Nairobi.

The Cabinet's policy document dubbed ‘Project Simba’ pointed out that the the Sh75 billion bailout programme by the government  was insufficient to resolve KQ's problems, hence the need to have the airline operate under a comprehensive national aviation policy.

Andersen said KAA has resorted to take a different approach to improve customer experience and monitor quality of services across all boards.

KAA will now employ a business assessment tool to evaluate stakeholders in airlines, ground handling companies, immigration department, retail and duty-free shops, eateries, cargo firms, ground transport and financial institutions on their service delivery to customers.

This follows a mandatory training to all JKIA staff ordered by CS Fred Matiang’i in January.

“The training was not enough. We need to coordinate all stakeholders to raise the standards of their services to gain an extensive recognition of JKIA as the best in East Africa and in the region,” he said.

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