KQ in talks with Pakistan to lease planes, says official

Troubled Kenya Airways (KQ) has confirmed it is in talks with the Pakistan government to lease some of its planes.

The Standard exclusively reported yesterday that the Pakistan government is about to seal a deal to lease three Kenya Airways Boeing 777 planes from the cash-strapped KQ.

And yesterday, the Kenyan airline, in a highly guarded response, said it could not comment on the matter since it was still under discussion.

“This is ongoing discussion and therefore we cannot comment on it until it is complete,” said KQ Corporate Communication Manager Wanjiku Mugo. A section of Pakistan media reported over the weekend that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), had finalised plans to take over, on lease terms, the planes from Kenya.

A classified presentation seen by The Standard and made to the country’s Ministry of Finance showed that indeed PIA is considering the deal, which will see Pakistan lease the three planes for six years. The project cost is estimated at Sh1.4 billion (1,442 PKR million, an equivalent of $13.7 million) with a cash security deposit amounting to Sh464 million (464 PKR million or $4.4 million). One US dollar is equivalent to 105 Pakistan Rupee, same as the Kenyan shilling exchange current exchange rate.

According to Abb Takk Tv, which first broke the story, the three planes would be handed over to Pakistan authorities in December.

The presentation also highlighted the immediate benefits of the deal and cited that the acquisition would see PIA offer “new premium service to its customers as per the vision of the honorable prime minister”.

KQ, which has been hit by a slump in tourism, require Sh60.6 billion bailout, according to Henry Rotich, Finance Cabinet Secretary.

The Government has previously confirmed that selling some of KQ’s idle assets was critical to the restructuring of the struggling national carrier.

Acting Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told a Senate committee last month that the airline is planning to sell four of its old planes to fund-raise and help the airline turn around its dwindling fortunes.

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