Kenya Airways on Tuesday said its pretax loss for last year tripled to Sh36.57 billion ($333.2 million) as the coronavirus crisis hit demand for travel.

The carrier, which is part-owned by Air France KLM, said its revenue plunged by more than half during the period, as lockdown measures reduced passengers.

The airline’s chief executive Allan Kilavuka said passenger numbers dropped significantly during the year under review to 1.8 million compared to 5.2 million in 2019.

This saw total turnover shrink by 60 per cent to Sh52 billion.

Known internationally as KQ, the national carrier’s gross profit tripled to Sh36.6 billion in a global trend that saw the world aviation sector loss a whopping $14 billion (almost Sh15 trillion) in revenue.

Cargo volumes also went down during the period, as the carrier grounded some flights, leading to reduced belly space.

The airline’s basic loss per share jumped to Sh6.22 in 2020 from Sh2.23 in the prior year, it said.