Discussions on changing the ownership of Kenya Airways from private hands back to the government have been ongoing for the past few months. Kenya Aviation Workers have declared their support for the nationalization of the airline.
The Secretary-General of the workers union Moses Ndiema says that the move will save the carrier from crumbling under debt. Moses expects the airline to return to profitability after the change in ownership structure.
Kenyan Parliamentarians recommended the creation of a holding company consisting of four government-owned subsidiaries namely; Kenya Airways, Kenya Airports Authority, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and Aviation Services College. The firms will operate independently and enjoy government subsidies to spur the aviation industry in Kenya.
Kenya Airways was once a government-owned company before its privatization in 1996. The firm was handed to private investors to save it from collapse due to poor management.
KQ’s rivals – Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines, and Emirates Airlines – are fully owned by their respective governments. The carriers have good management structures that have enabled them to grow in the competitive industry.
KQ shareholders opposed the decision to nationalize the company during the firms AGM on 10th June. The investors fear they could lose their funds if the process goes through. Kenya Airways owes over KSh20 billion to 11 Kenyan Banks.