Kenya Airways is reportedly planning to layoff half of its pilots due to the impact of the Covid-19 on the business.
Reports said the national airline would terminate the appointment of 207 pilots out of the 481 people in its workforce. It was learnt that the exercise will not happen at once as insiders said the company expects to release the pilots over the next 3 years.
Last month, employees at the Kenya Airways were said to have protested the payment of only 20 percent of their usual salaries not knowing the company would later fire most of them.
The airline is said to have sacked about 650 staff so far – most of the affected employees were said to be trainee pilots, trainee cabin crews, technician trainees and newly hired staff that were on probation before the pandemic.Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta
Sources familiar to the matter said the airline plans to shed about 590 more jobs in the second phase of the downsizing exercise.
According to the Kenya Airways December 2019 wage bill, pilots make up 10 percent of the company’s workforce yet their salaries represent 45 percent of total payouts to its employees.
“Based on our three-year projection, we will require 50 percent to 60 percent of pilots to efficiently support the reduced operations. 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.” the company’s Chief Executive, Allan Kilavuka told Business Daily.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association had written to Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, to intervene in the mass layoff. The association said more than 4,000 families rely on the airline for survival while 620,000 others depend on the country’s aviation sector.
Africa’s aviation has suffered a great loss occasioned by the month-long lockdown that grounded all flights, and despite the subsequent lifting of the restrictions by many African nations, the aviation sector is yet to resume 100 percent operations.