Kalpa calls off planned strike ahead of KQ strat­egy up­date

The pi­lots as­so­ci­a­tion de­manded an over­haul of Kenya Air­ways man­age­ment team. Chair­man Den­nis Awori re­signed, and for­mer Sa­fari­com boss Michael Joseph took over

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - RICHARD MUNGAI @Richiy­mungai

The Kenya Air­lines Pi­lot As­so­ci­a­tion yes­ter­day called off planned in­dus­trial ac­tion, cit­ing board changes. The strike was de­ferred two weeks ago ahead of Kenya Air­way’s strat­egy brief­ing this af­ter­noon.

Kalpa sec­re­tary gen­eral Paul Gichinga with­drew the strike no­tice say­ing the union is pleased with progress made on spe­cific is­sues raised by the pi­lots, and in par­tic­u­lar the over­haul of the strug­gling air­line’s top lead­er­ship.

“The ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil has been mon­i­tor­ing the de­vel­op­ments at Ken- ya Air­ways. Based on the progress on spe­cific is­sues raised by Kalpa, we are con­fi­dent that th­ese de­vel­op­ments will pos­i­tively im­pact on the air­line’s re­cov­ery ef­forts,” he said yes­ter­day in a state­ment.

Kalpa had is­sued a seven-day strike no­tice on Oc­to­ber 11, de­mand­ing an over­haul of the Kenya Air­ways man­age­ment team. How­ever, the no­tice was de­ferred on Oc­to­ber 17 to give KQ time to ad­dress the is­sue.

Those tar­geted were KQ’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Mbuvi Ngunze, chair­man Den­nis Awori, di­rec­tor of safety, se­cu­rity and qual­ity Alex Avedi, hu­man re­source di­rec­tor Al­ban Mwenda, and flight op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Cap­tain Paul Mwangi.

Awori re­signed. His woes be­gan early in June when the air­lines pi­lots de­manded his sack­ing over the fail­ure to im­ple­ment a re­turn to work for­mula.

For­mer Sa­fari­com chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Joseph joined the board on Septem­ber 29 dur­ing KQ’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing and was on Wed­nes­day last week elected chair of the loss-mak­ing na­tional car­rier.

It is ex­pected that Joseph’s ex­pe­ri­ence will help re­store the trou­bled air­line’s pride. This is due to his legacy of tak­ing Sa­fari­com from a sub­scriber base of 18,000 to 17 mil­lion in a pe­riod of just 10 years.

Joseph will hold his maiden press brief­ing to­day, along with Ngunze, to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the air­line.

The air­line last week re­ported a 60.13 per cent drop in af­ter tax loss for the half-year pe­riod ended Septem­ber 30 to Sh4.78 bil­lion from Sh11.95 bil­lion posted in the same pe­riod last year.

Ngunze said the im­prove­ment was un­der­pinned by lower op­er­at­ing costs made pos­si­ble by fleet ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion in line with the re­cov­ery strat­egy ‘Op­er­a­tion Pride’ launched a year ago.

Half-year fi­nan­cial state­ments show di­rect op­er­at­ing costs re­duced by 5.8 per cent to Sh32.75 bil­lion from Sh34.79 bil­lion last year.

Fleet own­er­ship costs re­duced by 35 per cent to Sh8.49 bil­lion from Sh13.14 bil­lion. KQ recorded a 4.2 per cent in­crease in pas­sen­gers num­bers to 2.2 mil­lion.

/ELKANA JA­COB

Pas­sen­gers alight from a KQ plane at the Moi In­ter­na­tional Air­port Mom­basa

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