State-owned Kenya Airways (KQ) losses more than doubled year-on-year (YoY) to 21.7 billion shillings in the six months to June 2023 due to forex losses and growing debt.

However, the airline reported a 56% YoY revenue growth to 75 billion shillings and a 43% YoY jump in passenger numbers to 2.3 million.

Finance costs rose to 22.8 billion shillings in the first six months of 2023, a 360 percent surge from 4.9 billion shillings during the first half of 2022.

Forex losses hit 15.3 billion shillings of the total finance costs, driven by the depreciation of the shilling against the US dollar. 

Short-term liabilities reached 124.8 billion shillings, while long-term liabilities stood at 176.8 billion shillings. 

The airline reported a 998 million shillings operating profit - the first in years - compared to a 5 billion shillings operating loss a year ago.

“For the longest time, we were below the line and now, for the first time, we are operationally profitable, which shows that the business is actually viable,” said KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka

“If we can deal with the legacy issues that have plagued us for many years, we are a viable business, we are an attractive business,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Kenyan government settled a 12.3 billion shillings ($85.51 million) debt of KQ for the financial year ending June 2023. 

(Editing by Seban Scaria