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Kenya Airways cancels flights in pilot standoff

Pilots’ go-slow disrupts KQ’s operations. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ Monday cancelled an unspecified number of flights after pilots refused to take up some shifts.

The airline also experienced delays of flights over the weekend following the pilots’ go-slow.

The reason for the pilots’ action was not immediately known but their union, the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA), went on strike last year demanding the exit of the then board chairman and chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze – changes which have happened.

Mr Ngunze was recently replaced by Sebastian Mikosz, who helped turned around Poland’s ailing national flag carrier LOT Polish Airlines. Former Safaricom boss Michael Joseph took over as chair from Dennis Awori.

“We have cancelled and combined some flights to manage the situation and to ensure our affected guests are taken care of,” Kenya Airways said in a statement.

The first statement from the airline was issued on Saturday following the cancellation of eight flights at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“Kenya airways advises that some flights are still disrupted due to crew constraints. This may also affect some flights tomorrow,” said KQ on Saturday.

“We have reached out to our pilot fraternity to resolve the matter as we strive to return to normalcy as soon as possible.”

The go-slow adds to the setbacks KQ faces as the peak season gathers pace. Last week, its Boeing 737-800 was grounded following an accident.

READ: KQ confirms damage to South Africa-bound plane

KALPA officials did not pick our phone calls for comment.

The pilots are said to have withdrawn goodwill, which refers to a deal that allows the pilots to be voluntarily available for work for certain hours during off-time, but within legal limits.

The airline has struggled to return to profit after tourist traffic slumped four years ago following a spate of attacks by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants.

The airline posted a Sh10.2 billion loss for the year ended March, down from Sh26.2 billion the previous year. KQ’s turnover dropped by Sh10 billion to Sh106 billion.

READ: KQ loses 100 technicians to rich Middle East carriers



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