We Should Privatize Kenya Airways, Says Prominent Hotelier

KQ stowaway body

Popular hotelier Mohammed Hersi who serves as the Chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation has called out on Kenya Airways(KQ) stakeholders to consider complete privatization of the national carrier.

With the financial difficulties the carrier has continued to incur even after last year’s completion of a major financial re-engineering drive which was barely enough to resolve its challenges, the airline sought to be hooked to comprehensive national aviation policy which was backed up by the cabinets approval.

Upon signing the Public-Private partnership stipulated in the policy documentation, Kenya Airways could have the mandate to take over all the staff and operations of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to expand the range of its services to include ground handling, maintenance, catering, warehousing and cargo creating a special economic zone the country’s main aviation hub, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Considering the unnecessary heat the KQ and KAA proposed deal has caused, the Chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation has advised the shareholders to privatize KQ.

” Is it about time we completely privatize KQ,” read his tweet.

According to the hotelier, such a move will attract potential and ethical companies to fit to do business with the new Kenya Airways. He noted that with Michael Joseph as the Chair at KQ, the airline could take the structure of Safaricom’s success journey.

“Instead of trying to craft a KQ / KAA deal what about crafting a deal to offload Government of Kenya shareholding but with a rider that the name is retained. With Michael Joseph as Chair at KQ, he handled the incubation of Safaricom before it was airborne. We can also get investors who will turn KQ into a Safaricom like outfit and privatization will keep the lazy thieving hands at bay,” Mr. Hersi argued in his blog.

In February this year, aviation workers filed a petition to counter the planned takeover of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by airline In the petition, the aviation sector union alleged that the KAA, nearly Sh4 billion questioning the viability of the proposal to hand over JKIA to the airline given its current poor financial health.

The controversy over planned takeover of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by the national carrier upon the concession has sparked a public debate with many against the proposed deal arguing that the airline will fail to meet its legal and financial obligations to its stakeholders and employees.