NAIROBI, 23 March 2021 – Kenya Airways made a record net pretax loss of $332 million in 2020, nearly triple its loss of $118 million the airliner posted in 2019.
Kenya Airways has blamed the 179 percent increase in the loss suffered in 2020 compared to 2019 on the complete shutdown in international air travel due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loss was driven in part by a massive 65.7 percent fall in passenger numbers, leading to a $473 million loss in revenue.
The Kenyan airliner admits it is not yet out of the woods.
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the airline industry “is expected to continue affecting air travel demand for the next two to three years,” said Michael Joseph, the chairperson of Kenya Airways.
The losses have forced job cuts, with 650 Kenyan Airways staff laid off in 2020.
Many staff had to take pay cuts and the company was forced to sell some of its assets as it redirected some passenger planes to cargo business.
Cargo volumes also went down during the period.
A forecast by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on the impact of COVID-19 on the airline sector in 2020 projected African airliners losing $6 billion in revenue and up to 72,000 aviation jobs.
Kenya Airways is part-owned by Air France KLM.