Kenya Airways shares suspended for yet another year | Aviation News

Shares of the indebted airline have not traded since 2020, and the president says he wants to sell government shares.

Trading in shares of Kenya Airways has been suspended for another year, the local stock exchange said, as the troubled national airline struggles to become profitable again.

The airline’s shares have been suspended since July 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the global air travel industry.

“The extension of the suspension is intended to allow the company [to] completed the restructuring of its operations and businesses,” the Nairobi Stock Exchange said in a statement on Wednesday.

Last month, Kenyan President William Ruto said the government was ready to sell its entire stake in the airline, which has been in debt for years.

The government owns 48.9% shares of Kenya Airways while Air France-KLM has 7.8%. The rest is owned by private individuals and banks.

“I’m ready to sell all of Kenya Airways,” Ruto told Bloomberg News during his first visit to the United States as Kenya’s president.

“I’m not in the business of running an airline with only the Kenyan flag – it’s none of my business,” said Ruto, who is said to have met executives from US airline Delta Air Lines during the trip. .

Kenya Airways’ crisis worsened in November when pilots staged a multi-day strike that left hundreds of flights canceled and thousands of passengers stranded. It also defaulted on a $525 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of America last year.

Shares were first suspended two and a half years ago when lawmakers were considering a plan – since scrapped – for the state to take full ownership of the carrier.

The airline, whose slogan is “Pride of Africa,” was founded in 1977 after the collapse of East African Airways and now flies more than four million passengers to 42 destinations annually.

But it hasn’t turned a profit since 2012, and the government has pumped millions of dollars in to keep it alive.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund called for progress on structural reforms in Kenya while announcing a $447 million loan to Kenya under a 38-month aid program.

The IMF said it was “urgent” to “resolve the vulnerabilities” at Kenya Airways as well as the majority state-owned Kenya Power.

In August, the airline reported a loss of $81.5 million for the half-year, citing high fuel costs. That’s a marked improvement from a $94.6 million loss in the year-ago period.

Local media reports cited a letter from Treasury Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u to the IMF in late December saying that Kenya Airways would soon receive an additional state bailout of around 280 million dollars.


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