An execution of some of the demands brought forward by the Kenya Airline Pilots Association has led to slowing down of a pilot exit from Kenya Airways. More than 70 pilots have moved from KQ to Middle Eastern carriers. Much interest was expressed in joining Qatar and Emirates airlines. Most of the pilots moved to the 2 airlines with the rest said to have joined airlines in Egypt, South Africa, and Ethiopia.
According to Mbuvi Nguze, The chief executive officer of KQ, the exodus has been halted following reformative changes in the airline which has been experiencing cash problems. However, He acknowledged a shortage of staff in some of the aircraft.
“We have seen the attrition rate reduce recently,” said Mbuvi, who is set to be replaced as chief executive by the end of next month.
As of March 2015, the airline had 523 pilots. A year later, the number stood at 489 pilots representing a loss of 30 pilots. By end of September 2016, the number of pilots had dropped to 460 pilots. More pilots are said to have left the airline this financial year putting more pressure on the airline.
The national carrier has reported full-year losses in the last 4 financial year leading up to March 2016 and is currently implementing Operation Pride in a bid to bring back profitability and regain its lost glory.
The human resource department of the airline is grappling with a deficit in the pilot workforce. This has been brought about by some of the pilots having been licensed to fly only specific aircraft.
“The fact of the matter is that we are a bit tight with some aircraft and we are talking to the pilots association on how we can onboard some short-term people to be able to cover the gaps,” said Mbuvi Ngunze in the Friday briefing.
KQ is also facing a similar challenge in the technical department with technicians and engineers joining better paying middle-eastern Airlines. In the last year close to 70 engineers have left the airline.