Up to 12,000 passengers have been disrupted due to “unlawful” strike action carried out by the Kenya Airlines Pilot Association (KALPA), Kenya Airways said in a statement.
The airline also confirmed that the strike, which commenced on November 5, 2022, had resulted in the cancellation of 56 flights.
“500 passengers are currently accommodated in various hotels in Nairobi to be distributed to other flights as soon as possible,” the airline added.
KALPA strike holding passengers, the airline and economy “at ransom”
Kenya Airways expressed its willingness to negotiate a deal with the KALPA officials, which, the airline claims, has been met by increased demands and an unwillingness to compromise.
However, the airline highlighted that the window of opportunity to negotiate is closing.
“We are at a stalemate. Therefore, they are holding passengers, other employees, management, and the economy at ransom. We reiterate that negotiations require good faith and compromise,” the airline said.
In a statement released on November 7, 2022, KALPA officials responded to the stalemate reiterating their efforts to engage KQ’s management to negotiate “with an open mind”.
According to the statement, the union emphasized that its members were ready to resume their duties if their conditions were met.
“We have not asked for improved terms of service; we only demand that KQ management honors agreements already in place,” KALPA added, highlighting that the restoration of its ‘Provident Fund’, a contractual pension agreement, is one of the union’s main conditions.
KALPA is arguing that funding the ‘Provident Fund’ will cost Kenya Airways 60 million shillings a month, while the airline is currently facing a daily loss of 300 million shillings a day because of the strike.
Kenya Airways maintains a fraction of its passenger operations
Despite the sharp cut to its pilot personnel, Kenya Airways confirmed that 23 pilots, who are supposedly members of KALPA, have “ignored” the strike and are currently still flying.
KQ added that it had operated four4eturn flights out of its hub Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Mombasa, and Lusaka on November 6, 2022, and expected to operate “a minimum of 9 flights” on November 7, 2022.
Kenya Airways cargo operations also impacted
The Nairobi-based airline also confirmed that its cargo operations had also been impacted by the strike action.
“Since the strike took effect, we have not carried any fresh produce to the Middle East and Europe,” KQ said.
The airline also highlighted that it carries about 150 tones of fresh produce from Kenya to the Middle East and Europe. On average Kenya Airways carries 20 tones of pharmaceuticals per day into Kenya.