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KQ denies its plane seized by lenders in Netherlands

By Macharia Kamau | January 17th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya Airways (KQ) aircraft lands at JKIA. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya Airways (KQ) has denied that one of its planes has been impounded in Amsterdam by one of its lenders for failure to service loans.

Reports said the aircraft had been taken over on Friday as KQ struggled to keep up with loan repayments, leaving its crew stranded.

The staff, according to the report, were to get back to the country onboard a KLM flight.

KQ, however, said the plane that was claimed to have been impounded made it back to Kenya yesterday.

The airline added that it was still in possession of all its fleet, all in service, and that neither creditors nor lessors had tried to take its assets.

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“KQ would like to confirm that its aircraft, a Boeing 787-8, that is currently in Amsterdam is scheduled to depart from Schiphol Airport on Saturday January 16, 2021 as a cargo freighter flight,” the airline said on Friday.

Yesterday, a KQ official told Weekend Business that none of the carrier’s aircraft had been impounded by lenders or repossessed by lessors for failure of meeting it regulator payment obligations.

The official, however, declined to get into whether the airline is up to date with its payment obligations.

The carrier is going through turbulent times as Covid-19 continues to devastate the aviation industry and has in the past said it was engaging creditors for relaxed repayment terms.

The airline, as is the case with other aviation sector players, has been badly hit by the Covid-19.

KQ was compelled to ground nearly all its operations, save for cargo flights, after countries closed their borders in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

The carrier said it was engaging the firms that it leases some of its aircraft from to reduce their rentals or shift their charges to utilisation-based rentals, which would it pay for what it uses.

It has also repurposed part of the fleet from passenger to cargo carriers.

KQ recently notified its employees of planned pay cuts of between five and 30 per cent for employees earning above Sh45,000. The company in March last year instituted deep cuts on employees’ salaries.

It resumed domestic flights in July and international flights in August but the aviation industry still has a long way to go before demand for services starts picking up.

The carrier also embarked on a layoff exercise in August last year, which it then said was supposed to match the demand for air services and the resources that it had.

The exercise affected 650 people.

Plans to have KQ’s ownership revert back to government are currently being worked on as part of a broader strategy to build Nairobi as the regional aviation hub.

?Kenya Airways KQ
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