International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Kenya Airways Dominant Image Restoration Strategies during the 2015/16 Financial Crisis
Chemutai Leona, Bartoo Phylis, Gakero Sammy

Kenya Airways is the flag carrier and the largest airline in Kenya. It prides itself as the African airline. Kenya Airways underwent a major economic crisis during the 2015/16 financial year, amounting to a total of 29.7 billion losses in March 2015 leading the carrier to be rated as the highest loss-making company in East Africa. This crisis tarnished the image of Kenya Airways leading the airline board of management to engage in an aggressive image restoration campaign. The aim of this study was to examine the dominant image restoration strategies employed by Kenya Airways in its communication during the 2015/16 crisis. The study was guided by two theories namely; Image Restoration Theory by William Benoit and Situational Crisis Communicational theory by Coombs Timothy. Benoit’s image restoration theory propounds the image repair strategies and options that are directly applicable to a specific crisis cluster which an organization experiences. The Situational Crisis Communicational theory provides a situational and contextual understanding of a crisis which can help an organization to assess the crisis type, frame a crisis, and place responsibility before they decide on response strategy. The study compiled data from magazines and press releases from Kenya Airways addressing the financial crisis between the period of March 2015 and September 2016. Using the entire population sampling, the researcher analyzed the data qualitatively through textual analysis. The study provides insights into future crisis communication management in the airline sector and other corporate sectors undergoing similar crises.

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