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Why Kenya Airways is abbreviated as KQ and not KA

By Dominic Kosgei | November 9th 2021

Kenya Airways (KQ) has been in existence for 44 years. [File, Standard]

You may be wondering why Kenya Airways is abbreviated as KQ, and not KA. What does KQ stand for? What does the Q stand for?

Let us take a short trip down the history lane of the airline. Kenya Airways was initially East African Airways.

Founded in 1946, the regional airline served Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and had its headquarters in Nairobi.

The relations between the countries, however, did not last long, leading to the collapse of East African Community, which subsequently ended the East African Airways.

In 1977, Kenya Airways was born out of the regional airline – East African Airways. By that time Korea already had its aviation industry running (Korean Air), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had already assigned them the code ‘KA’.

By virtue of being ‘late’, Kenya was assigned the code KQ; that’s the reason the Kenyan airline is referred to as KQ, and not KA.

IATA is an aviation body that works with airlines across the world to promote their safety and reliability.

IATA also sets standards for the aviation business from packaging to ticketing. It enjoys a membership of 290 airlines from 120 nations.

Founded in 1945 in Montreal, Canada, with 57 airlines registering as members, today the association carries 83 per cent of the world’s air traffic.

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