Kenya Airways woes soar as staff proceed on unpaid leave

Monday, July 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Airways plane.

Kenya Airways (KQ) has announced another staff layoff starting today in an attempt to cushion the struggling national carrier amid debt and Covid-19  shocks.

In a memo to staff, chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said as preparations for resumption of domestic flights proceed, the airline will only retain essential staff, with the rest proceeding on unpaid leave with immediate effect.

“Therefore, after a comprehensive review, a decision has been reached to carry out an organisation-wide exercise which will result in a reduction of our network, our assets and staff,” said Kilavuka.

“Our short and medium-term projections indicate that we must inevitably reduce our operations before we begin to scale up again.”


“We will therefore request all staff who will not be required to support the reduced operations to proceed on unpaid leave effective Monday 6th, July 2020,” the CEO said adding that the phased process will be concluded on September 30th, 2020

KQ will operate a reduced network on resumption of services, as it will take time for the industry to rebound. 

KQ has been facing a lean period even before the onset of the pandemic which saw the carrier operate cargo flights after Kenya’s airspace was closed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

“Our estimates is that since January to date, we have lost around $100 million (Sh11b) and when we estimate to the end of the year, we will loose $400 million to $500 million (Sh53b),” said Kilavuka during KQ’s annual general meeting last week.

KQ posted a net loss of Sh13 billion for the year ended December 2019, and saw shares suspended at the Nairobi Securities Exchange for 3 months as preparations for nationalisation gathered pace.

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