A number of Kenya Airways (KQ) staff are set to be fired as the company starts its restructuring process. This comes as the company is dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo sent to its employees, the carrier noted that the staff restructuring has been necessitated by the firm’s declining incomes which have stifled the airline’s processes in the last three months, as a result of passenger flights grounding.
“A decision has been reached to carry out an organisation-wide rightsizing exercise which will result in reduction of our network, our assets, and our staff. Effectively, we have commenced a phased rationalisation process, which we expect to conclude by September 30 2020,” noted KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka.
“With the suppressed demand for air transport, a large part of our fleet will remain grounded. We will also operate a reduced network when we resume our services as we anticipate that it will take some time before the industry starts to rebound.”
Cargo lifting has been the national’s carrier’s saving grace, with the airline earlier caution that it would incur a loss of up to Ksh. 50 billion by the end of the year – to close to half the record Ksh 128.3 billion revenue written in 2019.
Earlier the company had hinted at a decrease to its resource base as geared towards embracing the new-normal comprising staff and network.
However, there is still hope for the airline especially with a possible reopening of domestic flights, in the near future, with President Uhuru Kenyatta recently giving a hint at the planned recommencement of internal aviation.
Torusim CS Najib Balala together with transport colleague have made visits to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Mombasa’s Moi international Airport (MIA) ahead of a potential announcement on local aviation in the coming week.
The local carrier is not the first airline to cut down its staff with gulf carriers including Qatar airways and Fly emirates having trimmed their employee base a couple of months ago.
Avianca and LATAM Airlines (LTM) which are leading carriers in Latin America have faced a tougher situation, having acknowledged bankruptcy in May.
Before the pandemic, KQ had an estimate of 4,000 staff base and operated a fleet of 36 to 54 international destinations.
The company is set for a state takeover plan through a soon to be established Kenya Aviation Corporation.
Last Friday, the Nairobi Securities Exchange suspended the trading of the airline’s shares ahead of the plan and following the tabling of the National Aviation Management Bill.