KENYA PILOT’S UNION LATEST CASE AGAINST KENYA AIRWAYS EXPOSES SHOCKING LACK OF COMPETENCE
(Posted 14th April 2015)
‘Just ask yourself how any of the planes Kenya Airways or Jambojet presently has on their fleet, will be able to land in Ukunda or in Lamu’ asked a regular aviation source when passing the news last night that KALPA, the Kenya Airline Pilots Association had gone to court to compel the two airlines to use their existing fleet, and pilots on the new routes which were launched a few weeks ago.
‘You would think that you are talking to highly trained professionals but the truth is, one has to question their mental capacity for coming up with such rubbish. Lamu and Ukunda are unable to handle jets like the Kenya Airways’ Embraer 190 or like Jambojet’s B737-300. One must question the sanity of KALPA? Are they trying to force their own pilot members into landing on fields unfit, i.e. too short for the type of planes they are flying? Their industrial action is a recipe for an accident waiting to happen and I hope their case is thrown out and their insanity exposed’.
Another regular aviation source in turn took issue with the judge at the Employment and Labour Court who reportedly had issued an injunction – this could not be independently confirmed overnight though – to halt Jambojet’s flights to Ukunda, Malindi and Lamu until a full hearing of the case has taken place. Considering that this can take weeks if not months, did the judge, one Helen Wasilwa, incur the wrath of both aviation and tourism experts spoken to: ‘If it is correct that she issued an order to halt those flights over a dispute if Jambojet can or cannot wetlease a turboprop aircraft, the only type of aircraft able to fly to Ukunda and Lamu, than she needs her head examined. Has she heard of the dire situation of resorts and hotels at the coast? Now there is an airline which against the trend launched flights to Lamu and Ukunda to bring much needed tourists there and a judge thinks that should not be. If this is really the case she has just issued a death sentence on more resorts because if these flights are stopped, who will bring the tourists there?’ said a Diani based tourism stakeholder while an aviation consultant termed the order, again subject to it actually having been issued, as a shocking lack of understanding of the implications of such an order before adding ‘If this is true I hope the two airlines go straight to the appeals court to have the injunction thrown out because the economic damage, for the tourism industry in Lamu and Ukunda and for the aviation industry per se would be incalculable’.
Trade unions and trade associations have for long been accused to be a fifth column of outdated socialist and communist ideologies, in most cases not entirely justified though in this case again holding some water, as the plaintiffs suggested they need to give permission to an airline’s plans to use suitable aircraft for new routes where the existing fleet of planes cannot operate to.
It is mega barbs for KALPA and their case, which is bordering on economic sabotage and therefore should end them up in the dock or else in the consultation room of a psychiatrist.