Kenya Airways: Pilots’ strike will cost airline Sh300 million loss per day
The national flag carrier Kenya Airways will suffer an estimated Kes300 million loss per day or Kes2.1 billion in loss per week if its pilots proceed to down their tools starting Saturday, November 5.
In an appeal to the pilots’ union, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka has faulted the Kenya Airlines Pilot Association (KALPA) terming the planned strike an “unfortunate action” that may affect both passengers planning to travel as well as the cargo business.
“This could also lead to huge losses to farmers whose perishable goods are due for export,” Mr Kilavuka said.
At the core of the pilots’ demands is a request that their salaries and benefits that were suspended when Covid-19 pandemic hit be reinstated.
The 400-member lobby is also demanding the payment of worker’s provident fund contributions that were frozen when the pandemic choked the business about two years ago.
The company CEO said the intended industrial action, which is set to kick in on Saturday, November 5th, 2022, from 6am, negates the strides that KQ has registered this year in improving its financial position after the pandemic turmoil.
“It is also counterproductive to the government’s efforts to revive our economy and detracts from current efforts to ameliorate the extremely needy cases of Kenyans suffering from the effects of severe drought,” explained Mr Kilavuka.
The Kenya Association of Air Operators termed the impeding strike “poorly considered in that KALPA is holding both the airline management and the government to ransom over a matter which should be dealt with without resorting to such an extreme course of action.”
Kalpa has over the past two years opposed KQ’s plans to cut the number of pilots to 207 from over 400.
The airline, however, maintains that it is willing and ready to engage with KALPA to find a lasting solution to the current labour crisis.
In July, KQ and South African Airways (SAA) signed a code-sharing agreement on flights to and from their home countries in a bid to increase their presence.