NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Kenya Airways has recruited 40 local pilots this year as part of efforts to fill its personnel shortage which costs the airline Sh5 billion annually.
According to Kenya Association of Travel Agents, the recruited pilots will later take up the vacancies being currently filled by contract pilots.
In September, outgoing CEO Sebastian Mikosz, in a memo to staff, announced the recruitment of 20 contract pilots for its Boeing 737 fleet, saying they would help the airline plan for pilots’ annual leave.
“Our aim is clearly not to do away with Kenyan pilots as the contract pilots will only be in the service of the airline for two years after which they will be replaced by Kenyan pilots,” said the airline in a statement.
The carrier said the average KQ pilot has over 100 days of accumulated leave with the current pilot numbers insufficient to support the route network.
The decision to hire foreign pilots made local pilots through the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) file a trade dispute with the Labour Ministry, seeking arbitration over the move, which they termed as a “gross violation” of its Collective Bargain Agreement.
“We hereby demand an immediate freeze on the hiring of the said contract pilots. In addition, we expect an official response of this intent within seven days of this communication, failing which the association will take any action it deems fit,” Capt Nyaga said in his letter to Kenya Airways Chief Human Resources Officer Evelyn Munyoki in September.