Kenya Airways is willing to operate under a State-owned holding company after the troubled airline failed in its bid to jointly run the country’s main airport, according to chairperson Michael Joseph.
Lawmakers in the East African nation in May rejected the airline’s proposal to operate Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with the state-owned Kenya Airports Authority, and are expected to issue alternative proposals, Joseph said in an interview Monday. The recommendations could include the partial nationalization of Kenya Airways, he said.
The airline, which reported a 5.95-billion shillings ($59-million) full-year loss, is proposing a model similar to Emirates Airline and Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, which operate as units of State-owned holding companies. Such an arrangement would enable it to double its fleet in five years, Joseph said.
“We need the financial structure to enable us to do that,” he said. “It might not be cash, it might be the balance sheet which is why the airport deal was very important for us.”
Kenya Airways, which is 48.9%-owned by the government, is also on the hunt for a chief executive officer after Sebastian Mikosz said he would step down before the end of his three-year contract.
“A mature, seasoned executive is what I will hire,” Joseph said. “There’s not many around. If it’s delayed beyond December there’ll be still strong leadership.”
The airline’s stock fell 5.6% in Nairobi on Monday, bringing the loss this year to 60%.