Following the parliamentary vote this week to re-nationalise Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta), the chairman of parliament’s transport committee has told Reuters that it would take at least 21 months to take back full control of the flag carrier.

The transport ministry will need three months to think through and provide the committee with a proposal on the holding company that would contain four subsidiaries, namely the airline, its Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta hub, an aviation college, and Kenya Airports Authority. Then a further 18 months would be needed to buy out minority shareholders and convert shares held by banks into Treasury bonds, David Pkosing said.

The carrier, which fell into debt and losses in 2014, is currently 48.9% owned by the government and 7.8% by Air France-KLM. It restructured USD2 billion of debt in 2017 but still needs cash as it competes against the likes of Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates.

Kenya Airways could renegotiate its aircraft leases based on its reduced risk profile, Pkosing told Reuters, noting that the airline needs more than its 39 aircraft. A nationalised carrier will be exempted from taxes on fuel and maintenance, he added, which would allow it to cut fare prices.

Air-France KLM, which has so far declined to comment on the issue, will be offered to sell its stake to the government and stay on as a technical partner, he said. A consortium of banks that acquired 38% of the equity through a special purpose vehicle during the 2017 restructuring may be offered payment in the form of 10-year Treasury bonds. And minority shareholders holding about 3% of the shares will be bought out for around KES800 million shillings (USD7.71 million).