Why Kenya Airways is abbreviated as KQ and not KA

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 and led to the collapse of East African Community which subsequently ended 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 International Air Transport Association (IATA) already had assigned them the code ‘KA’. By virtue of being ‘late’ Kenya was assigned the code KQ and it is 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 over 260 airlines across 60 countries.