, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – The Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA) has issued a 48-hour strike notice calling for the resignation of the Kenya Airways Managing Director Mbuvi Ngunze.
The Association’s Secretary General Paul Gichinga says no aircraft will operate on Thursday if Ngunze does not quit.
KALPA accuses the KQ boss of mismanagement citing that Ngunze is inexperienced and lacks capacity to bring the airline back to recovery.
Among the issues raised by the association include revenue loss, questionable recovery strategies that include selling its most valuable assets in a bid to get back to profitability.
“KQ has already sold two out of the four Boeing 777-200 at throwaways prices, they have also sold the highly valuable slots into London Heathrow Airport and proceeded to lease some unfavourable slots from KLM,” Gichinga said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
He says London accounts for 10 percent of KQ revenue with the sale of the prime slots; it will take more than a miracle to maintain the revenue stream.
The association also faults the KQ mismanagement for missing their revenue target by Sh50 billion in the year ended March 2015 and is pessimistic that airline will recover from its Sh25.7 billion 2014/15 loss.
“In Kenya, which is the home market, KQ commands less than 30 percent of the total annual revenue of approximately Sh40 billion. This is because of a lack of focus in Kenyan traders who compromise a significant portion of the aviation business,” he said.
Meanwhile the Kenya Airways management has termed the strike notice illegal as it is in violation of the required minimum requirement o seven days notice according the Kenya law.
In a statement the national carrier assured its customers and trade partners that the airline is fully operational.
“We are surprised and consider it the height of insincerity, bad faith and act of economic sabotage for KALPA to allege to issue a strike notice knowing full well the current challenging business environment facing the airline and also in light of the ongoing consultations,” the management stated.
Earlier the management had announced that at least 600 KQ employees will from May this year be declared redundant or be redeployed elsewhere.
The management said the staff rationalisation is aimed at cutting costs and help the ailing airline succeed in its turnaround journey.
The exercise will affect various departments and all cadres of staff, with details of positions and specific staff to be affected being worked on and released later.
Staff to be affected have been assured that the redundancy process will be in full compliance with labour laws, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and individual staff members’ contracts as appropriate.
Staff rationalisation is one out of the 10 exercises being taken by the management to revive the national carrier which has consistently recorded billions of losses.
In the full year 2015, KQ posted a further net loss of Sh25.7billion from a net loss of Sh3.3billion in 2014, representing a 661 percent drop.
The management attributed the loss to volatility of exchange rates, intense competition especially from Middle East carriers as well as terrorism that led to travel advisories.