Pilots at Kenya Airways have ended their stike following the appointment of Michael Joseph, the former head of regional telecommunication services provider Safaricom as the national flag carrier’s chairman, replacing Dennis Awori.

The appointment was announced here Monday following a stalemate in talks between the airline’s management and the Kenya Airline Pilots Association which had demanded, among others, that the airline’s chief executive officer, Mbuvi Ngunze, and Awori as well as top managers resign, blaming them for poor leadership and corruption which has seen the airline posting losses running into billions of shillings in recent years.

The Kenya Airways pilots called off their strike, which had been set to begin Tuesday, with the announcement. Joseph’s appointment will, however, still have to be ratified by stakeholders on Wednesday at an extraordinary annual general meeting of the airline, in which the government has a minority equity stake.

The breakthrough followed intensive talks by government officials and Kenya Airways management and the pilots union.

Joseph, who remains a director at the airline pending his endorsement as chairman, welcomed his appointment and promised to return Kenya Airways to its rightful place as the Pride of Africa.

“This is the start of a journey to return KQ to its rightful place as the Pride of Africa. It may be difficult at times, but I am confident that with the support of all our stakeholders, we will reach that goal,” he said.

“Although we agree on many things and actions to be taken, I am sure there will be others where we will not always be in agreement. However, the future success of Kenya Airways is in all our interests, and therefore I am sure we will find ways to work together in the future.”

Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA) Secretary-General Captain Paul Gichinga said they had resumed normal operations following the fruitful discussions. He thanked the government for the timely intervention which he said had resulted in the de-escalation and subsequent resolution of the looming crisis.

“We trust that the management of Kenya Airways will abide by the assurances and commitments it has given us. On our part, we wish to assure the Government, Kenya Airways stakeholders and the general public that our members will abide by their commitments,” said Gichinga.