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Transport CS Clears Air On Kenya Airways Planes Ownership

The Transport ministry has lifted the veil on the ownership of Kenya Airways planes amid a probe by MPs questioning the airline’s viability to operate JKIA.

KQ seeks to enter into a concession agreement with the Kenya Airports Authority to operate and maintain the airport. The key question in the probe is whether the airline, which has made losses for years, has the capacity to run the facility.

Transport CS James Macharia yesterday dismissed claims that KQ operates planes owned by private individuals linked to the planned takeover.

The CS said KQ operates 40 planes – 20 are it’s own and the rest are leased.

Macharia said the airline has leased some of its aircraft to other airlines to address overcapacity and to optimise the use of its assets.

He said KQ has leased three Boeing 777-300ER aeroplanes to Turkish Airlines, and one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to Oman Air. “Kenya Airways earns lease rental income from these arrangements,” the CS said in a press statement.

KQ owns one Boeing 737-300 ER, one Boeing 737-300, six Boeing 787-8, one Boeing 737-300, two Boeing 737-300F, and ten Embraer 190.

The airline has leased eight Boeing 737-800, two Boeing 737-700, two Boeing 777-300ER, three Boeing 737-8, and five Embraer 190.

Of the 20 that KQ owns, seven are financed by City Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Afrexim Bank – all under Tsavo Ltd Loan structure.

Standard Chartered and Afrexim banks have financed the airline’s ten Embraer 190 under the Samburu Ltd loan structure. Three Boeing 737-300 have been fully paid for.

Of the leased planes, California-based Aviation Capital Group has three Boeing 737-800; GE Capital Aviation Services which is based in Dublin has two – Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 787-8. China Development Bank has leased two – one Boeing 737-800 and a Boeing 777-300R; Australia’s MACQUIRIE AirFinance has leased another plane of the same type. Goshawk Aviation has also leased two of such planes to KQ.

AERCAP, a Dublin-based company, has also leased one Boeing 787-8 to Kenya Airways; Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has also leased one of the same type.

Singapore’s Bank of China (BOC) Aviation has also leased a Boeing 777-300ER to KQ while Cross Ocean Partners has also leased a Boeing 777-700; whereas Nordic Aviation Capital has leased five Embraer 190.

Macharia said the ministry will continue to work with Kenya Airways “to further optimise the airlines’ fleet to boost revenues and reduce costs.”

His clarification came when two Parliamentary committees are digging into the deal suspected to be a plot by rich individuals to take over JKIA by using KQ as a trojan horse.

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