Kenya to nationalize airline by end of year to boost competitiveness
INTERNATIONAL –The Kenyan government plans to nationalize its carrier Kenya Airways by end of the year in order to boost its competitiveness, officials said on Tuesday.
Sebastian Mikosz, chief executive officer of the Kenya Airways told journalists in Nairobi that all its regional and international competitors are also owned by their respective governments and thus have a financial advantage.
"Government has put in place a steering committee to spearhead the process of nationalizing Kenya Airways by the end of the year," Mikosz said.
In July, the east African nation's parliament voted to nationalize the national carrier. Mikosz said that legal and policy reforms will have to be undertaken in order to ensure that the Kenyan flag carrier becomes fully state-owned.
The biggest shareholder of Kenya Airways is the national treasury which owns 48.1 percent, while banks control 38.1 percent while KLM owns 7.8 percent with the rest being owned by the public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
According to the CEO, legislative reforms will be required to pave the way for the government to buy out the minority owners of the airline.
"We are currently drafting the amendments that will be passed by parliament to make the airline fully owned by the state," he added.
Mikosz revealed that the government will form a holding company where the national flag carrier and Kenya's main airport will be subsidiaries.