Kenya Airways posted its first operating profit for seven years in 2023 off the back of a recovering passenger business, although a heavy currency exchange impact kept it loss-making at a net level.

The Kenyan flag carrier posted an operating profit of KSh10.5 billion ($78.8 million) for the year ended December 2023, against a loss of KSh5.6 billion in 2022 and marks the SkyTeam carrier’s first surplus since posting an operating profit of KSh1.5 billion in 2017.

Kenya Airways 737

Source: Pierre-Yves Babelon/Shutterstock

Kenya Airways works boosted revenues by 53% in 2023

Kenya Airways chairman, Michael Joseph says: “These figures highlight the airline’s remarkable performance over the year and provide encouraging signs of continued recovery within the air transportation sector. They also confirm the operational viability of the airline business and demonstrate that the management’s ongoing efforts to restore profitability are yielding positive results.”

The SkyTeam carrier’s improved financial performance was driven by a 53% jump in revenues to KSh178 billion for the year on passenger numbers up 35% to just over 5 million.

Chief executive Allan Kilavuka says: “The company also exploited opportunities of raising the much-needed revenues by ramping up its scheduled operations as well as through passenger charters. Other initiatives undertaken by the management included partnerships with other airlines and cost containment measures.”

However the airline continues to be loss-making at a pre-tax and net level, as costs – including a KSh19 billion foreign currency exchange hit – impacted the business. The carrier though did report a cut in net losses from KSh38.3 billion to KSh22.7 billion in 2023.