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Kenya Airways reports profit for the first time since 2017

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Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways recorded an operating profit in 2023, its first in seven years. The airline, whose biggest shareholder is the Kenyan government, also said in a statement that its loss after tax had reduced to almost 23 billion Kenyan shillings (approximately 175 million U.S. dollars) from more than 38 billion shillings (290 million U.S. dollars) the year before.

The 10.5 billion Kenyan shillings profit (about 80 million U.S. dollars) represents a sharp turnaround from an operating loss of 5.6 billion Kenyan shillings (42 million U.S. dollars) in 2022, with chairman Michael Joseph hailing it as a “significant milestone”.

“These figures highlight the airline’s remarkable performance over the year and provide encouraging signs of continued recovery within the air transportation sector,” Joseph said.

Kenya Airways has been labouring under a mountain of debt and running losses for years despite numerous government bailouts. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the carrier’s woes.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka says the company’s focus in the near term is on completing a “capital restructuring plan whose main objectives are to reduce the company’s financial leverage and increase liquidity”.

The carrier’s total revenue for the year also surged by 53 percent to 178 billion Kenyan shillings (1.34 billion U.S. dollars) The airline attributed that to a 35 percent growth in passengers.

(With input from local agencies)

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