The Star (Nairobi)

26 January 2013

Kenya: KQ in Drive to Boost Passenger Numbers

KENYA Airways has embarked on an aggressive drive to increase passenger numbers to turn around its fortunes after posting a loss in the first half of the current financial year.

The airline has asked all its staff to promote the brand and help in selling tickets under a programme dubbed the KQ ambassador. "The more passengers we bring into the company the more security we have in terms of our jobs and sustainability of our airline," Naikuni told employees and journalists yesterday.

Naikuni said the programme will reward employees by way of commissions for ticket sales. The airline posted a drop in pre tax profit for the financial year ending March 2012 from Sh5 billion to Sh2.14 billion. The airline suffered another blow in the first half of the year to post a loss of Sh4.7 billion for the period ending September 2012.

The airline said the results were as a result of drop in passenger numbers as a result of the Eurozone crisis and a stronger shilling during the period under review.

KQ's chief operating officer Mbuvi Ngunze said heightened marketing is going to be main focus of the airline going forward. "The truth is that the market is getting tougher and we are seeing new competition coming in," said Ngunze.

During the first half of the year, revenue reduced by 9.3 per cent to 49.8 billion from Sh54.9 in 2011 attributed to lower number of passengers and a stronger shilling.

KQ said it has had to cut back operations through suspension or reduced frequency on the routes that were not performing well like Rome, Muscat, Zanzibar and London.

The airline which celebrated its 36th anniversary yesterday has also launched a promotion in which frequent fliers stand a chance to win various prices including a range rover sport, to entice passengers.

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