Kenya Airways Pilots Call Off Strike After Some Demands Met

Updated on
  • Action forced airline to cancel some flights on Thursday
  • Deliberations with carrier management to continue until June 1

Kenya Airways Ltd. pilots called off a strike that forced sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest airline to cancel some flights on Thursday, saying several demands for management changes had been addressed.

The pilots will return to work Friday until at least the end of consultations with Kenya Airways executives on June 1, Paul Gichinga, secretary-general of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, said in an e-mailed statement. Pilots stopped work Thursday to demand the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Mbuvi Ngunze, who is leading a turnaround strategy for the loss-making carrier.

Kalpa, as the pilots union is known, and the airline on Thursday “reached an agreement that will see management changes effected immediately at Kenya Airways, Gichinga said. The carrier said on its Twitter account that Alban Mwendar, director of human resources, had resigned earlier this month and is overseeing the staff rationalization program, while Ngunze had not stepped down.

Kenya Airways plans to cut 600 jobs and has shrunk its fleet by almost a third to help reverse a 25.7 billion-shilling ($253 million) annual loss it reported in July. The loss is the biggest in Kenyan corporate history. The company’s shares have fallen 44 percent over the past year and traded at a record low of 4.05 shillings on March 15.

Kenya Airways operates a fleet of 36 aircraft and flies 4 million passengers a year to 53 destinations worldwide, 10 of them outside Africa, according to a statement by the company last week.

Flight schedules will return to normal this morning, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement.

— With assistance by Adelaide Changole

(Adds shares in penultimate paragraph.)
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