Pilots are seeking the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta to save their jobs as struggling Kenya Airways (KQ) pushes on with the resolve to send them home.
Through their union, Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa), they wrote an open letter to the President pleading with him to save some 4,000 families who would be directly affected by the downsizing.
“As opposed to issuing letters of redundancy in the midst of a pandemic – a move that will severely impact over 4,000 families who directly depend on KQ and the adverse net effect of the same, industry stakeholders have the opportunity to consultatively reposition the airline to strategically fill the gap left by the closure of Air Mauritius and South Africa Airways,” the letter signed by Kalpa General Secretary, Captain Murithi Nyagah, stated.
They opposed any move by the airline to reduce staff, instead urging for measures to expand its network and preserve Nairobi as an economic hub for the East African region.
“We strongly believe expanding Kenya Airways will give our country the opportunity to capitalise on the maturity of her hospitality industry and fully utilise her substantive investment in airport infrastructure,” they said.
The pilots further cautioned over the risk of the country losing its professionals in the aviation sector to competitors in the region, faulting KQ for the move as other airlines are making decisions to strengthen their brands.
“The decision to downsize the airline will result in the country losing its highly-trained home-grown talent to foreign carriers, as well as its regional advantage as a hub to Addis Ababa – that is expanding under the support of Ethiopian Airlines, or Kigali – that is also expanding under the support of RwandAir.”
Kenya Airways top management has, however, termed its decision as “right-sizing” the organisation so as to ensure that the airline operates cost-effectively.