Kenya Airways pilots on Thursday made good their threat to go on strike forcing the cancellation of more than ten flights, affecting its operations.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa), which draws its membership from close to 500 fliers, is demanding the sacking of Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze. It argues he is unable to lead the company back to profitability because he and the management are directly responsible for the airline’s financial problems. KQ made a record Sh29.7 billion pre-tax loss in the 2014-15 financial year
“We have been experiencing some flight disruptions since this morning (Thursday) and that has caused inconveniences to our guests. This is highly regretted and we are working to reduce these disruptions,” said the press release.
It added: “Our pilot fraternity is a vital part of our business and we are working together to resolve any outstanding issues…We request that you bear with us as we work to normalise our operations and we will keep you updated,” said KQ.
On Wednesday, KQ and the pilots agreed to defer a 48-hour strike notice that expired on the same day following the intervention of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Kenya Airways chaired by Attorney General Githu Muigai and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Early Wednesday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court issued an order suspending the strike after the national carrier filed a suit to have the planned strike declared illegal. The order remains in force until May 9 when Justice Nduma Nderi is expected to hear arguments from both parties.
As the strike raged KQ released a second statement saying: “We regret to announce that we have cancelled all flights operating up until 0200 East Africa Time except KQ 618 to Mombasa departing Nairobi at 2130 and KQ 619 departing Mombasa at 2310 East Africa Time”