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Jetlink to restart flights with new investors

JetlinkJetlink will restart operations by the end of March with the help of new investors nearly two months after stopping services due to cash-flow problems.

Elly Alluvale, Managing Director Jetlink, revealed that the airline was talking to potential investors to inject cash, and was hoping to restart operations before the end of the first quarter.

The carrier said that the problem was due to its inability to access about USD 2 million (KSh. 170 million) worth of ticket sales held in bank accounts in South Sudan. It also faced a claim of KSh. 440 million in unpaid leasing fees which indicated a heavier financial mess.

In November, the High Court ordered the Kenya Civil Aviation to detain four of Jetlink’s air-planes pending a suit filed by a Mexican company – CRJ Company Ltd – demanding the unpaid aircraft leasing fees.

Captain Alluvale was not sure when they would resume business as the carrier’s 350 employees have been on leave, but they hoped to do it before the end of the quarter .

Jetlink was the first airline to operate flights between Nairobi and Juba and this route was reported to be one of its most profitable ones.

It expected most of its sales on the route in South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), which the carrier had been unable to repatriate back to Kenya to fund its operations.

The airline revealed that it had been accumulating South Sudanese pounds in its accounts at Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, but the banks were not able to grant it any allocation of US dollars presumably due to currency and cross-border risks.

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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