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Kenya Airways cargo volume drops 27 percent


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Kenya Airways cargo volume drops 27 percent

A Kenya Airways cargo plane. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The volume of cargo transported by Kenya Airways (KQ) went down by 27.6 per cent in the year ended December 2020 compared to a similar period in 2019.
  • KQ says in its latest annual report that cargo tonnage on both passenger belly and freight aircraft dropped 27.6 percent to close at 49,418 tonnes as at December 2020, up from 68,264 tonnes in December 2019.

The volume of cargo transported by Kenya Airways (KQ) went down by 27.6 per cent in the year ended December 2020 compared to a similar period in 2019.

KQ says in its latest annual report that cargo tonnage on both passenger belly and freight aircraft dropped 27.6 percent to close at 49,418 tonnes as at December 2020, up from 68,264 tonnes in December 2019.

This was despite its efforts to enhance its cargo business to bolster the recovery process in the wake of diminishing demand for passenger travel.

Last year’s performance translates into an average of 4,118 tonnes per month compared to an average 5, 688 tonnes per month in the year ended December2019.

Cargo services were not affected when the airline resumed international flights last August heading to about 30 destinations for the first time since the routes were suspended last March due to the coronavirus.

Cargo accounted for Sh8.6 billion or 6.7 per cent of its Sh128.3 billion sales in the year to December 2019. In the year ended December 2020, cargo accounted for Sh9.01 billion of the airline’s Sh52.80 billion sales.

During the period under review, passenger revenue dropped by 67.5 per cent to Sh33.7 billion as travellers reduced by 65.7 per cent to 1.8 million.

Total income dipped by 58.9 per cent to Sh52.8 billion underlining the impact of a sharp fall in passenger numbers as countries restricted movement to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Approximately 70 per cent of the total passengers carried in 2020 were flown during the first three months of the year, demonstrating the drop in demand as the global crisis deepened during the year,” said KQ chairman Michael Joseph.

The drop in cargo volume transported by KQ as at December 2020 compared to a similar period last year comes at a time the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) had approved Kenya Airways’ request to convert some of its large passenger aircraft into freighters.

The move by KCAA to approve the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for cargo use came just weeks after the US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave KQ the green light for the same.

The move was meant to see KQ increase the available capacity at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by over 100 tonnes, coming as a boost to exporters, especially horticulture farmers.

During the lockdown, the airline converted some of its Boeing 787 aircraft into freighters. However, they did not remove seats to accommodate more freight. The move could only see the carrier ferry close to 50 percent of goods.

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