BY DAVID ONJILI
Kenya Airways has, in a concerted effort, embarked on a strategy that will not only turn around its fortunes in the wake of back to back losses, but that will also ensure the media industry is enabled to report on the same adequately.
As such, the Airline organised a brief training session early in the week for the business reporters of leading media entities in Nairobi for what they termed a start point of a series of similar engagements going forward.
The session, held at the airline’s Pride Centre covered, in brief, every aspect that affects aviation, particularly decision making processes in running of an airline including role of government in aviation, fleet management, finance, procurement, ticket pricing, low cost airlines among others.
Geoffrey Lang’at, head of finance, for instance, delved briefly but insightfully, into the controversial fuel hedging; the various types, merits and demerits of each and why it is inevitable in the industry.
Clearly, the purpose was for the business writer to appreciate what goes into the critical, mainly, on-the-moment decision making in the day-to-day operations of an airline. This will go a long way in minimising sensationalism in reporting on aviation, usually a consequence of luck of adequate knowledge of the aviation industry.
Among the strategies the airline is working on in a renewed effort to reclaim its rightful position as the Pride of Africa is full adherence to all the regulatory international financial reporting systems (IFRS), more so as a listed company. As such the airline has fully complied with the IFRS 9, IFRS 15 and IFRS 16. IFRS 16, which is the latest and which KQ has already implemented, ensured, for instance, that the airline includes leased planes on their balance sheets, improving transparency in the capital-intensive industry.
While talking about fleet management, head of department, Francis Musila delved into the efficiency and the accruing benefits of operating a few types of airplanes and what goes into choosing of aircrafts for specific routes. KQ, Musila said, currently runs three types of planes, which is good in terms of maintenance and the reduced cost of hiring, training and retaining pilots, engineers and cabin crew.
Coming out strongly also was the role of airport management authorities in helping airlines firm up their growth strategies. For KQ to succeed in some of its strategies for running an efficient airline to be able to effectively compete with world leaders and return to profitability, it emerged in the training, Kenya Airports Authority and other Government departments including Immigration will have to tug along.