Kenya Airways Pilots Begin Strike Action
Airlines Industry

Kenya Airways Pilots Begin Strike Action

DALLAS – Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots have begun strike action over working conditions, leading to the cancellation of 23 flights. Around 10,000 passengers have been affected.

The strike, called by the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA), began at 6:00 local time today, Saturday, November 5. No flights operated by its members have departed Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO).

In a statement, KALPA union secretary general Murithi Nyagah said, “The strike is fully in force.”

The airline said that around 388 pilots had taken part in the “unlawful” strike. Photo: Kenya Airports Authority.

Economic Impact

However, the country’s government has urged KALPA to call off the action. Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen told reporters at NBO that the strike was unwarranted and “akin to economic sabotage.”

Meanwhile, the airline said the strike was unlawful after winning a court injunction to stop the strike on Monday. It also stated that any action would severely impact KQ’s recovery from the pandemic. Management estimates that it could lose at least 300 million shillings ($2.5 million) each day the strike takes place.

In a statement, KQ CEA Allan Kilavuka, called on KALPA “to immediately call off the unlawful strike.” He went on to say that the airline was willing to engage with the union to “find practical and lasting solutions.”

He added, “We are therefore giving all pilots who are on strike one “irreducible” minimum report back to work within the next 24 hours (by 10:30 am Sunday, November 6th 2022) per your rosters. Failure to do so will lead to immediate disciplinary action.”

KQ Boeing 787-8 (5Y-KZE). Photo: Misael Ocasio Hernandez/Airways

Pay Issues

KALPA stated that it had called the strike regarding reinstating pension contributions. It also demands back payments of all salaries stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic. A 14-day notice period, given to the airline by the union, had passed with no response from management.

KQ, partly owned by the Kenyan government and Air France-KLM, is one of the biggest in Africa. Founded in 1977, following the demise of East African Airways (EC), it flies to 42 international destinations in 36 countries worldwide.

Featured Image: KQ has a fleet of nine Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

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European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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