President Ruto Meets Delta Air Bosses Over Sale of KQ Stake

President William Ruto during his trip to America met executive heads of Delta Air Lines, where he launched the government’s bid to sell its entire 48.9 percent stake in Kenya Airways.

Moreover, president Ruto on Thursday, December 15 held a meeting with executives from Delta Air Lines Inc., the largest US carrier by market value.

However, the president did not provide details of the talks.

The government is seeking a cash-flush foreign airline as a strategic investor in Kenya Airways to offer expertise and cut its reliance on Treasury handouts for operational cash.

“I’m willing to sell the whole of Kenya Airways Plc,” Dr Ruto told Bloomberg News on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC on Friday. “I’m not in the business of running an airline that just has a Kenyan flag, that’s not my business.” He added.

Nonetheless, US President Joe Biden last week hosted the US-Africa summit.

Moreover, a report from the white house noted that more than 300 American and African companies met with heads of different delegations to talk about investments in critical sectors.

Likewise, president Ruto while in the US stated that discussions with Delta are at a preliminary stage.

“The government is looking for partnerships that will make Kenya Airways a profitable entity whatever that means, in whatever configuration, whatever form it takes,” he added.

On previous occasions, Delta has shown interest in a piece of Kenya’s air traffic.

In 2009, KQ stopped plans to launch four direct flights a week between Nairobi and Atlanta via Dakar after the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) failed to clear the new route, citing noted security vulnerabilities in and around Nairobi.

This move by TSA saw Kenya summon the then-US ambassador to explain the last-minute cancellation of new Delta Air Lines flights on security fears.

Nonetheless, Kenya Airways has been surviving on State bailouts since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline reported a Sh9.8 billion loss in August — a better performance than the Sh11.48 billion loss it recorded in the same period a year earlier.