KQ to sack 207 millionaire pilots in recovery plan

KQ pilots
Kenya Airways pilots. [Photo by Money& Markets]

The woes that befell Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways since COVID-19 pandemic struck in March are far from over with a new plan to lay off 207 of its pilots in the offing.

KQ currently has 414 pilots. With the intended layoff in the next three years, it seeks to save costs of up to Ksh3.24 billion with a pilot force of 214.

In July, it sent home 650 staff among them trainee pilots, technical crew, cabin crew among other staff members.

The airline says that pilot salaries gobble up 45% of KQ’s total expenditure which is Ksh6.48 billion. This translates to Ksh1.3 million pay for each pilot.

Speaking to Business Daily in an interview, KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka said that decisions to cut down jobs are informed by revenue projections
“Based on our three-year projection, we will require 50 percent to 60 percent of pilots to efficiently support the reduced operations,” Kilavuka said.

“Our target is to reduce the company’s overall total fixed costs, not just staff costs, by about 50 percent in response to our revenue projections,” he added.

Kilavuka said that the airline will reduce its network, assets and workforce in a bid to optimize the cost of running the airline effectively in the next three years.

This move will save KQ Ksh63 billion.

KQ follows in the steps of global airlines who have had to cut their workforce based on “coronavirus recovery forecast” which indicates that it will take three years for passenger traffic to return to where it was before the pandemic.

KQ has also cut flights to some destinations it operated before the pandemic struck. Only half of its fleet is now operational as passenger traffic remains low.