NAIROBI, Kenya (eTN) – A drop in passenger numbers has eaten into Kenya Airways‚ revenue stream, the CEO of the airline, Titus Naikuni, has said.
Speaking to CNN on Friday, Naikuni said the airline has been forced to suspend flights to some destinations after the eruption of violence triggered by the disputed presidential election result.
The airline is feeling the pinch as tourists opt for countries that have over the years, envied Kenya‚s reputation as the destination of choice.
“In terms of numbers, we have lost 15 percent of our business,” Naikuni said during the CNN interview.
Some seven key European markets have advised their citizens against traveling to Kenya.
Naikuni said the suspension of flights to Paris was due to a major decline of travelers on the route after the flare-up of violence.
The political crisis has seen the company suffer reduced capacities to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Johannesburg and a number of African destinations.
Last week, the national flag carrier conceded that there has been a sharp decline on bookings on the Paris route as French citizens reacted to their government‚s decision to issue a travel advisory against travel to Kenya.
The advisory came three days after the airline announced the resignation of two senior board directors–Neil Canty (Finance director) and Hugh Fraser (Commercial director).
According to Naikuni, the airline derives 70 percent of its revenue from transit passengers, while the tourists account for 20 percent of the remaining figures.
Domestic travelers take up the remaining 10 percent. He, however, said that the airline’s future depends on an urgent solution to the political crisis.
“Peace will be vital for our survival. We are trying to work as a team and I’m telling my workers to preach peace when they go home.”
The airline was the preferred carrier for tourists although it had started facing competition from other players such as Virgin airlines and British Airways
KQ has also announced plans to send on paid leave part of its workforce to cut costs to mitigate against effects of the crisis.