Pilots’ strike could disrupt tourism, transport sectors

Kenya Airways (KQ) Management will today issue a statement in response to yesterday’s strike notice given by pilots, which experts have warned could disrupt the country’s tourism and transport sectors.

Over 450 Kenya Airways pilots belonging to the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) yesterday issued a seven-day strike notice demanding an overhaul of Kenya Airways’ top management officials.

As part of their grievances, the pilots want KQ’s Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze and Chairman Ambassador Dennis Awori to resign immediately for alleged mismanagement.

Kenya Airways has been reducing and modernising its fleet, selling land and cutting jobs to recover from losses caused by a slump in tourism. Economists warn that the strike could further exacerbate the slump since the sector is still on the road to recovery.

KALPA Secretary General Captain Paul Gichinga said that they want Board Chairman Dennis Awori and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze to resign, arguing that they have no confidence in their ongoing turnaround strategy.

“We are today, Tuesday 11, October 2016, issuing a seven-day strike notice. We wish to inform all the airline’s stakeholders that KALPA members will from 5am local time, Tuesday 18 October 2016 down their tools until a comprehensive change of guard at Kenya Airways is effected,” Gichinga told journalists.

Gichinga said that failure by the two to resign will see pilots down their tools on Tuesday next week, starting at 5:00 am until a comprehensive solution is found, a move that could cost the national carrier billions in losses as well as disrupt the tourism and transport sectors.

The announcement comes even as the management continues to assure shareholders and the public that there is a constructive strategy to revive the airline which has made over Sh50billion losses in two consecutive financial years.

The airline reported a net loss of Sh26.2 billion for 2015/2016 financial year, up from Sh25.7 billion in the previous financial year.

During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) last month, Awori told the shareholders that the management had received a Forensic Audit Report that will play a key role in guiding them to bring Kenya Airways back on its feet.

But KALPA maintains that the promises by the management don’t seem to bear any fruits hence the need for change.

“We have no confidence in the airline’s recovery under the stewardship of the Chairman of the Board of Directors Ambassador Dennis Awori and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze,” Gichinga said. “We are not convinced genuine efforts are being made to turn around the airline.”


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