Kenya Airways is close to taking over control of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This was announced by the airline’s Chairperson, Michael Joseph on Monday (June 4).
Joseph said the airline had proposed forming a special agreement that would allow Kenya Airways to run the country’s biggest airport.
The airline is currently facing financial difficulties. In 2017, the government and other shareholders restructured $2bn (€1.6bn) worth of debt to assist in the airline’s recovery. Additionally, the airline has planned new routes in an attempt to drive growth.
The plan to hand over control of JKIA to Kenya Airways will be finalised sometime in 2018 pending parliamentary approval, according to Joseph.
Under the new arrangement, JKIA is to be owned and managed by a private holding company, which is to be 100% owned by Kenya Airways. The plan is set to run for 30 years.
As airport operator, Kenya Airways would have control of the allocation of takeoff and landing slots, although Joseph denied this was the reason for the move. He cited Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa hub as an example to follow, stating: “All our competitors are state owned, state-controlled and state-subsidised and managed for the benefit of the airline. We are the odd one out.” Joseph added that in 2010 Ethiopian Airlines was half the size of Kenya Airways but has grown considerably due to the decision to combining aviation assets around the national carrier.
It must be noted, that since Joseph’s announcement, Ethiopia’s ruling party announced that Ethiopian Airlines is to be partially privatised.