Monthly Archives: August 2015


It just dawned on me that the first aircraft I was brave enough to get into was an Ethiopian airline plane to Addis Ababa. To see someone. But that …. is a story for another day. It just occurred to me as I penned this intro and was looking for something nostalgic about my first KQ experience, sadly though, I cannot seem to remember the very first flight I had. Like most of KQ customers I have a bitter sweet relationship with the airline, and I do feel terrible that the pride of Africa is losing height. Fast. Here’s some observations and very (useful) information if any of you ever becomes an airline CEO and need to bring it down.


1.Ensure staff morale is at an all time low. Do not motivate or respect your staff, remember to dismiss employees and at every opportune moment, slash allowances and salaries. Make sure you lose your best minds to other airlines.

2.Do not create goodwill or loyalty from employees, this will then create abundant space for corruption.

3. Try your best to get a raw deal from so-called partners who must not share a vision with your airline. Never re-negotiate partnerships.

4. Introduce irrelevant departments with overpaid heads. Make use of as many consultants as you can who are paid to do nothing.

5. Over price your ticketing and do not care what competitors charge.

6. Withdrew from routes that make money to pave way for partner airlines.

7.Ensure your board is complacent and has as little knowledge on aviation as possible.

8.Hire expatriate cabin crew, they should stay in expensive hotels at all times, ensure you ignore multilingual Kenyans sending in CV’s for these positions.

9.Hedge your fuel for long periods of time under arrangements that will not profit the airline.

10.Make sure flight cancellations are frequent, the angier the customers, the closer you are to your ultimate goal.

11.Buy aircraft that everyone warns you against. Buy many of them actually, especially if they are expensive to maintain, with wanting cargo capacity in a market with high demand for cargo carriers. Ensure you pale in comparison to your competitors who have bigger equipment.

12. Import all your inflight items from Europe and other expensive markets.

13. Don’t bother with the procurement guys, whether it is aircraft parts or fuel, they know best.

14.Hang on to your old fleet however expensive they are to maintain and fuel.

Feel free to add your pointers to the list.

What Obama visit really means for Kenya

U.S President Barack Obama jets into a rather elated Nairobi this week, bringing with him over 3000 business leaders, policy makers from the US and across the world, as well as a battery of 170 journalists, in a sense, the world will have its focus squarely on Kenya.

The thundering symbolism of this visit, just months after one the most dreadful terrorist attacks in a university in Northern Kenya where 147 students were killed, comes bang on time for a country that is now beleaguered with travel advisories, wobbly investor perceptions, a struggling stock market and a shilling whose value has drastically depreciated down over the last 6 months. Obama’s visit is the biggest show of confidence and a rare sign of solidarity by the US government yet.

Kenya’s recent economic tribulations have been largely flared by the terrorist attacks, an ugly thorn in the flesh of what is largely seen as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, predicted at 6% by the Kenyan government, corroborated by the World Bank among other financial institutions.

Returns on investments for Fund managers in 2014 were averaging around 12.5 % all the while making profits. Technology and real estate investors are said to have made returns of over 20% year on year, yet this growth story is only well known within Kenya’s borders and little to the very investors it tends to woo.

Kenya’s trade relations with the United States; like most African countries, favours the latter. 30 billion shillings in trade last year, according to Economic Analyst James Shikwati, “ will not give the US sleepless nights’ the figure translates to only 0.01% of US’s trade.

Kenya hasn’t come top of it’s PR class, and hasn’t done enough to sell its positive stories abroad, at least where it matters. International TV screens are awash with news of the Alshabab related attacks, but Kenya’s new chapter, with its immense investment opportunities has attracted little attention from the international press. Perhaps it is time for the Kenyan media houses to set up international bureaus at strategic locations around the world, to supply world media with the other side of the Kenyan story.

Investments in Infrastructure that run into the Billions of dollars are re-positioning Kenya as the hub of the East and landlocked Central African region. One of the main projects is the construction of a new port which will be the largest on the Eastern African coast, and includes a road, oil pipeline and railway network connecting Kenya and its neighbors. An international airport and a resort city will also be constructed next to the port. The projects are estimated to cost about 4.5 billion dollars. This is just one of several infrastructure projects along with the already kicked off plan to construct 10,000 kilometers of road, intended to open up Kenya’s rural farmers who should now benefit directly from growth in Agribusiness. With the GES summit, Kenya can begin to share with the world its growth story and the opportunities present.

The GES summit also presents an opportunity for Kenya to Lobby for direct flights between the US and Nairobi, a discussion that slowed down in 2009 when the US Government declined to allow direct flights. Early this year the Kenya government was keen for a go ahead after American Aviation Authority announced it was ready to rule on the matter in March. However the ruling hasn’t been done, even as US airline Delta and Cargo carrier Fedex have already expressed interest on the route.

Kenya now has a chance to refine its position as far as the US is concerned, but even more than that, the real impact of the GES summit will be felt after the hangover is done. The real test will be the measure of trade between the two countries, the number of investors and dollars coming into the economy, as well as a new picture or new interests by international media on what they perceive as Kenyan news that will make an impact internationally.

Uhuru and Obama are expected to talk about Peace and security, but this will also be a critical time for Kenya to state and follow through on the kind of relationship it expects to have with the US, which can be seen as rocky following direct opposition from the US on matters of human rights and laxity in fighting corruption. Business analysts say the US, historically acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up its interests along the way

The 6th Global entrepreneurship summit kicks off on Friday 24th July, and will be co-hosted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and US president Barack Obama. Both, sons of Kenya, who’s fathers did not get along in the early 70’s when Uhuru’s father was president and Barack’s father was a civil servant, who later faded into alcoholism after being fired from Kenyatta’s government, it is interesting to see how this new love affair will pan out.