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KQ says pilot strike will cost the airline KES 300 million daily

Kenya Airways now says the planned pilot strike will be an expensive loss to the airline which is already making million in annual losses.

In a statement on Friday, KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka said the national carrier will lose KES 300 million every day if the pilot strike takes effect.

Kilavuka termed the strike ‘unlawful, ill-timed, and unnecessary’.

“This unfortunate action may affect both our passengers, who may not travel, and our cargo customers, whose exports will be affected. It will greatly inconvenience travelers for business, medical, leisure, and those connecting with their loved ones. This could also lead to huge losses to farmers whose perishable goods are due for export,” he said in a statement.

The pilots, through their representative Kenya Airline Pilot Association (Kalpa), have planned to boycott all KQ flights demanding better working conditions from the management.

“We had hoped that the management of the airline would soften its hard stance and engage in a negotiation on the issues raised. However, Kenya Airways management has not made any meaningful attempt to engage and have these issues resolved,” Kalpa CEO Muriithi Nyagah said.

The strike notice followed KQ’s decision to suspend contributions to the provident fund, which pilots claim violate a contractual agreement with all employees.

According to the pilots, KQ has unilaterally ceased both employee and employer contributions since 2020 and has failed to restart the retirement scheme.

Even so, Kilavuka maintains KQ is ready and willing to negotiate with the pilots to avert the strike. “We are willing and ready to engage with KALPA within the confines of their mandate in an open negotiation to find practical and lasting solutions.”

Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) has thrown its weight behind KQ, condemning the planned strike.

“The impact of the strike has wider ramifications across the wider aviation landscape in Kenya,” KAAO said.

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