NA­JIB BALALA

State of­fi­cials or­dered to fly KQ

The Star (Kenya) - - News - LOLA OKULO @lo­la_okulo

Pub­lic ser­vants will have to fly Kenya Air­ways when they travel for of­fi­cial duty start­ing to­mor­row, Tourism Cabi­net sec­re­tary Na­jib Balala has said. Balala said min­istries had agreed to strictly im­ple­ment this pol­icy from July 1. If suc­cess­ful, it could be a shot in the arm for the cash-strapped air­line as it will rake in mil­lions.

Pub­lic ser­vants will have to fly Kenya Air­ways when they travel for of­fi­cial duty start­ing to­mor­row, Tourism Cabi­net sec­re­tary Na­jib Balala has said.

Balala said min­istries had agreed to strictly im­ple­ment this pol­icy from July 1.

If suc­cess­ful, it could be a shot in the arm for the cash-strapped air­line as it will rake in mil­lions fol­low­ing in­creased trips by state agen­cies and del­e­ga­tions re­cently.

“No for­eigner will come and sup­port our own in­sti­tu­tions,” Balala said yes­ter­day at the air­line’s head­quar­ters in Em­bakasi, Nairobi.

“It is only right for govern­ment and the peo­ple of Kenya to sup­port Kenya Air­ways. The Bri­tish of­fi­cials fly Bri­tish Air­ways so it is no mis­take to sup­port our own and this is in good faith.”

Balala, how­ever, urged the air­line to im­prove the qual­ity of its ser­vices and of­fer the govern­ment spe­cial rates to en­hance the deal.

This is not the first time a cabi­net direc­tive has been is­sued call­ing for pub­lic ser­vants to fly the na­tional car­rier.

In 2013, for­mer Trans­port Cabi­net sec­re­tary Michael Ka­mau di­rected that all state of­fi­cials travel by KQ for their of­fi­cial as­sign­ments fol­low­ing ap­proval of this pro­posal by the Cabi­net.

The air­line re­ported Sh25.7 bil­lion loss af­ter tax for full year end­ing March 2015. In the half-year pe­riod to Septem­ber 2015, the na­tional car­rier re­ported a Sh11.95 bil­lion net loss.

KQ boss Mbuvi Ngunze said pas­sen­ger num­bers have not grown suf­fi­ciently so far, and asked the govern­ment to fo­cus on en­hanc­ing se­cu­rity and im­ple­ment­ing favourable poli­cies.

Balala on his part fur­ther asked the air­line to re­view its prices to of­fer com­pet­i­tive rates that will in­crease the num­ber of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional tourists.

He asked KQ to use its net­work to mar­ket Kenya as a tourism des­ti­na­tion es­pe­cially in coun­tries post­ing high growth such as China, Dubai and Nige­ria.

/COUR­TESY

Kenya Air­ways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze and Tourism CS Na­jib Balala with KQ staff dur­ing the un­veil­ing of a Kenya Air­ways Mag­i­cal Kenya branded air­craft yes­ter­day

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