A shortage of pilots has forced loss-making national carrier, Kenya Airways to cancel dozens of flights.
The airline projects that more flights will be canceled in the future due to the shortages of pilots which are estimated to be 106.
In a statement, the carrier’s head of operations, Paul Njoroge said that the flight routes will be reduced as it proceeds with the hiring of 20 pilots on contract.
“In response to the crew shortage, we have unfortunately had to shrink the network to ensure that we deliver on our brand promise,” said Mr Njoroge.
The airline has been losing Sh5.18 billion (USD 50 million) annually as a result of the shortage of pilots
The current number of pilots based on the fleets is 435 against a requirement of 497 pilots thus giving a deficit of 62 pilots.
“This system is ineffective and archaic, and it does contribute to the current shortages as on average nearly 10 percent of pilots are always on training thus making the total current shortage to be 106 pilots.
“This situation has resulted in the airline losing colossal amounts of money not to mention customer’s goodwill. KQ management does not understand why good faith has been taken for granted and abuse,” Mr. Njoroge added.
In the first weeks of August, the airline experienced 91 flight cancellations with more than 70 flights being due to pilot shortages and crew disruptions.
The airline’s management has in the recent past attributed the cancellations to crews calling in sick ahead of flights.
However, this move has created a brawl between the airline and the pilot’s union who have expressed concern over the likelihood of the jobs going to foreigners.
“We are not opposed to KQ hiring pilots but we just need to know where they are coming from, the qualifications and the returns, given that we have qualified Kenyans in KQ who qualify to be captains,” said Muriithi Nyagah, the secretary-general of the union.
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