Pilots Association Pushing for Overhaul of KQ Management

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association wants top Kenya Airways managers sent home in the wake of a Sh4.2 billion state bailout.

The emergency shareholder loan was approved as part of the Sh198.3 billion supplementary budget by the National Assembly on June 25, just days before the closure of the financial year 2014/15 on June 30. Government holds a 29.8 per cent stake.

The lobby group claims the current KQ leadership is not the right team to lift the struggling listed airline from its financial troubles occasioned by a heavy debt load amid low passengers numbers.

“KALPA has no faith in the current managements’ ability to steer Kenya Airways back to prosperity,” chairman Ronald Karauri said in a public notice in all the main Kenyan dailies on Friday.

KALPA claimed KQ management has sacked “some of our junior pilots on flimsy and unjustifiable grounds …to intimidate and frustrate the pilots union” and further raised nepotism concerns in employment.

In March, the airline suffered flight delays and cancellations following a go-slow called by the association after KQ retired 10 pilots who were operating its Boeing 777-200 fleet – four of which were grounded last year and replaced by newer Boeing 777-300.

The two parties have been at loggerheads since September 2012 when KQ, then under the stewardship of Titus Naikuni, retrenched 447 staff in a protracted dispute that ended up in court.

The Sh826 million one-off retrenchment, the airline charged at the time, was to save Africa’s third largest airline Sh1 billion every year in staff costs.