A number of African national aviation carriers have continued to open up on how they have been gaining from the absence of a Nigerian national carrier since to collapse of Nigerian Airways.
Latest in the testimony of profits is Kenyan Airways.
Addressing members of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) and Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), who paid him visit recently in Lagos, the Country Manager of the East African carrier, Hafeez Balogun, said the unprecedented flow of Nigerian travelers and tourists to the Kenyan Airways remains the backbone of the return to profitability of the airline.
Business Hilights recalls that Kenyan Airways is partly owned by the Kenyan government and KLM among other investors.
Prior to return to profit making in 2018, the airline had been in financial difficulties between 2015 and 2017 due to operational losses, for reasons not unconnected with rapid expansion of the fleet and routes, fuel-price hedging and the 1996 agreement with KLM that was considered intrusive in the running of the flag carrier.
However, Kenyan Airways bounced back to recovery path late 2017, by acquiring new aircraft and route expansion.
The airline recently launched a direct flight from East Africa to United States. Passengers on Kenya Airways’ Boeing 787-8 Dream liner now take 15-hour flight from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to New York.
Financial statements showed that Kenya earned $1.2 billion in 2017 from tourism, more than a 20 per cent increase from $989 million the previous year, and the US is one of the country’s biggest tourism markets.
Balogun revealed that so far, the New York route of the carrier has airlifted well over 900 Nigerian passengers, a feat he said was made possible by dedicated services tailored towards Nigerians.
He added further that “Nigerians in the Diaspora are also coming home on Kenyan Airways. So, we thank Nigeria for supporting Kenya Airways.”