Kenya Airways says cancels all but two flights due to pilots’ strike


Kenya Airways said on Thursday it was cancelling all but two of its evening flights operating until 2300 GMT after a pilots’ strike that led to 10 cancellations earlier in the day.

“We are still consulting and negotiating with our pilot fraternity that is a vital part of our business and we hope to have an amicable agreement soon,” the airline said in a statement, adding that only two domestic flights would run.

Kenya Airways said pilots went on strike despite an agreement reached a day earlier to defer the strike notice until June 1.

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) issued a two-day notice to the carrier on Tuesday saying its members would stop flying planes until Kenya Airways Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze resigned over what it called “questionable” turnaround measures.

Kenya Airways had also obtained a court order on Wednesday barring the planned strike. The airline and KALPA then issued a statement, saying the union had agreed to defer its strike.
“We have had some disruptions this morning as a result of the pilots’ strike announced on Tuesday and in spite of our agreement yesterday,” Kenya Airways said on its Twitter feed.

At midday Kenyan time when the strike was supposed to start, dozens of Kenya Airways pilots were in a meeting with Transport Minister James Macharia and Dennis Awori, chairman of the board of the carrier, a Reuters reporter covering the meeting said.

Kenya Airways, which is 26.7 percent owned by Air France-KLM, is one of the largest carriers in Africa, ferrying 10,000 passengers a day with a fleet of Boeing and Embraer jets.

But the airline has been selling assets, including planes, and plans to lay off 600 people as it tries to stay in operation after three and a half years of financial losses.