A sigh of relief as Kenya Airways soars in the skies again

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Airways
A Kenya Airways plane in the sky. PHOTO/FILE

AVIATION: After four months of not flying, with exception of cargo flights, Kenya Airways is back in the skies beginning tomorrow,

 The national carrier will cautiously resume flying domestically to select destinations after it suspended all passenger flights on April 2 due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“As we prepare to operate under exceptional circumstances, we look forward to welcoming more of our guests on board and we remain committed to offering a world class service with a delightful African touch” said Allan Kilavuka, the airline’s chief executive.

Flights will initially be limited to outbound passenger traffic, twice daily to Mombasa, and once daily to Kisumu, with a possibility to review the option of increasing frequencies as demand picks up.

The announcement which follows the lifting of the restriction of movement in and out of Nairobi and Mombasa counties by President Uhuru Kenyatta, comes even as the carrier continues to face endless legal fights involving its employees and swelling debt piles which have overshadowed its keenly anticipated return to the skies.

Last week, for instance, saw the High Court suspend plans by the airline to lay off some of its staff and send others on unpaid leave ahead of tomorrow’s resumption of domestic flights and international travels in August – a move that could force the cash-strapped airline to dig deeper into its pockets to execute its recovery plan.

In a ruling made by Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Friday, KQ as it is known by its code share name, also saw its 30 per cent pay cut plan for staffers who will be on duty upon resumption of its passenger flights suspended.

The cost cutting plan was to take effect between July and September, subject to review, this is after the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU), came to the rescue of its members who are KQ staffers.

In its defense, the lobby group says that KQ violated a collective bargain agreement (CBA) it signed in 2014 with its staff.

In May this year, Kenya Airways reported a Sh12.98 billion loss in the year ended December 2019 with the loss attributed to huge operating expenses. It expects further losses by year end because of the pandemic.    

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