Kenya Airways hit by new row with pilots


(Posted 08th November 2019)

Following an earlier – and ongoing – row over pilot recruitment has KALPA, the Kenya Airline Pilots Union now opened a new battlefront with the Kenya Airways management, this time over maintenance issues. It has been confirmed by sources in Nairobi that the pilots union insists aircraft must be signed off by qualified and licensed engineering staff and unless this is ensured, cockpit crews may opt not to fly their aircraft.
Hit by flight cancellations, which include dedicated cargo services, has senior management blamed the pilots for an estimated 5 billion Kenya Shillings added loss as a result of not having enough pilots available, claiming that it was the union standing in the way of recruitment. The union in turn insists that there are enough qualified first officers ready to be promoted to captain and that the airline is now paying the price for a failed training approach.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has reportedly stepped in earlier in the week to bring the two sides together but there seems little space for Kenya Airways to maneuver around these challenges, until outgoing CEO Sebastian Mikosz has actually left his job, being seen as one of the main roadblocks to better management/staff relations.
One regular inside source in fact has suggested that Mikosz now regrets not having set an earlier departure date and by failing to do so taken the wrecking ball to the airline over his contentious and repeated negative remarks about the pilots.
Meanwhile has regional competition also become harder for KQ as both Air Tanzania and newly launched Uganda Airlines have eaten into market share of Kenya Airways over the past months and with the Ugandan flag carrier launching nonstop services from Entebbe to Mombasa next Monday, this ‘drain’ is expected to accelerate yet further.