CS defends KQ, tells pi­lots to call off strike

James Macharia says the gov­ern­ment will use levers un­der law to take ac­tion against Kalpa mem­bers who defy the direc­tive

The Star (Kenya) - - News - CON­STANT MUNDA AND WEIT­ERE MWITA @TheS­tarKenya

The gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day threw its weight be­hind the be­sieged man­age­ment of the Kenya Air­ways and de­manded the Kenya Air­lines Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion calls off planned strike next Tues­day.

Trans­port CS James Macharia said 90 per cent of board and se­nior man­age­ment mem­bers have been in the of­fice for be­tween four and 24 months.

“There is ...a re­spon­si­ble and sys­tem­atic man­age­ment of staff de­par­tures, in­clud­ing at man­age­ment and board level,” Macharia said in a state­ment. “While it is easy to demand man­age­ment changes, stake­hold­ers need to un­der­stand that in a busi­ness as com­plex as KQ’s, hur­ried and emo­tion­ally-driven ac­tions can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.”

The CS said the air­line was system- at­i­cally re­cruit­ing new tal­ent for key man­age­ment and board po­si­tions. Former Sa­fari­com chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Joseph has re­cently joined the board fol­low­ing the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Septem­ber 29, with spec­u­la­tions rife he may take over the reins on the board.

The CS, how­ever, said the union over­stepped its man­date as only the board and share­hold­ers can sack the CEO or board chair.

“The gov­ern­ment de­mands the im­me­di­ate with­drawal of the strike no­tice by Kalpa,” he said, warn­ing the lead­er­ship and mem­ber­ship that such an ac­tion “dur­ing this very del­i­cate stage in (KQ) re­cov­ery is tan­ta­mount to eco­nomic and na­tional sab­o­tage”. He added: “The gov­ern­ment will use all levers avail­able un­der law to take ac­tion against those that will defy this direc­tive.”

He said the gov­ern­ment, which con­trols about 27 per cent stake in KQ, has con­fi­dence in the air­line’s turn­around strat­egy “Op­er­a­tion Pride” which it fully supports.

“In­deed, ad­vance fi­nan­cial re­sults re­leased by KQ in­di­cate a 58.3 per cent im­prove­ment in its net profit po­si­tion as well as a break-even of op­er­at­ing prof­its.”

KQ man­age­ment had ear­lier in the day re­ported in an ad­vance fi­nan­cial re­sults that ar­rivals in­creased by 89,000 guests to 2.23 mil­lion in the six months to Septem­ber com­pared with 2.14 mil­lion the same pe­riod last year.

There was an im­prove­ment in op­er­at­ing profit of Sh2 billion dur­ing the half-year pe­riod, while net losses dropped to Sh5 billion from Sh12 billion in the same pe­riod last year.

The cabin fac­tor, gen­er­ally used to as­sess how well an air­line fills seats and gen­er­ates fare rev­enue,im­proved by three per­cent­age points to 71 per cent from 68 per cent, the KQ said.

/MICHAEL KHATELI

Kenya Air­ways Cap­tain Irene Koki in­side the Dream­liner at the JKIA

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