Kenya Airways(KQ) to fire more than 1500 employees and sell assets citing COVID-19 effects
KQ at JKIA loading passengers
KQ Boeing 787 dreamliner at KQ headquarters in Nairobi on April 26, 2017

 

More than 1500 employees at Kenya Airways(KQ) are facing an axe as retrenchment exercise scheduled to begin immediately as stated in a Friday Notice to all employees.


The Kenya Airways board has confirmed the retrenchment of staff, networks, as well as assets citing the adverse effects of Coronavirus on its operations.


The airline formally told the pilots association of its aim to sack a large number of its workforce in a Friday notice.



"KQ management aims to carry out an organisation-wide restructuring, which will end in a reduction in its network, assets and staff, " part of the notice reads.


Acting CEO Allan Kilavuka told the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) the redundancy process will commence immediately.


He assured the association the company shall adhere to the provisions of the labour laws, the comprehensive bargaining agreement (CBA), and any related court orders.


“The employees affected by this move will be accorded the respect and dignity that is required,” the letter to KALPA CEO Captain Murithi Nyaga reads.

About 1,500 employees of the 3,734 at KQ as of last December stand to be discharged from their roles in the company-wide restructuring.


About 33 per cent of the employees are in-flight operations, while ground operations account for 24.9 per cent, technical (13.8 per cent), commercial (12.5 per cent), cargo (4.3 per cent), and other sections (11.3 per cent).


The remuneration of the airline’s staff constitutes a significant cost of operations, accounting for about 20 per cent of total costs.


Captains earn an average of Sh1.6 million per month; first officers (Sh900,000); flight operations (Sh225,000); while technical, ground services, cargo and commercial staff earn an average of Sh150,000 monthly.


KALPA approximates that over 4,000 families that directly depend on Kenya Airways will be adversely affected by the redundancies.


In an open letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Nyagah said the downsizing would result in the country losing highly trained talent to foreign carriers.


The association says Nairobi further risks losing its place as the regional hub to Addis Ababa or Kigali where respective airlines are facilitating investments.


“Downsizing will jeopardize the investment Kenya has made in improving airport infrastructure, resulting in significant tax revenue loss from the sector.”


Kalpa argues it would have been prudent if KQ took advantage of gaps left by the closure of Air Mauritius and South African Airways.


The captain said such a move would allow the country to “capitalise on the maturity of her hospitality and fully use the substantive investment at JKIA”.


“We are confident our proposal will help navigate the aviation sector through the pandemic and drive sustainability in the new normal,” the pilots said.

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