Panafrican News Agency

Kenya Airways to lay off 590 employees

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenya Airways will go ahead with its plans to lay off 590 employees in the second phase of the exercise to downsize, Group Managing Director CEO Allan Kilavuka has said.

The loss-making airline, in which the government has majority shares, plans the layoff despite questions over its budget remaining unanswered.

Kilavuka attributes the downsizing to reduction in destinations and frequencies to match anticipated demand for the airline's services.

The airline has already shed 700 members of staff in the first phase in July, with the entire process targeting at least 1,500 employees, including pilots, cabin crew and the technical department, among other sectors.

At least 182 pilots and more than 400 cabin crew are facing job losses raising questions over the future of the carrier, which is in the process of being nationalised.

Kenya Airways is currently a public-private partnership.

The largest shareholder is the Government of Kenya (48.9 per cent) with 38.1 per cent owned by Kenya Airways Lenders Company 2017 Ltd. (in turn owned by a consortium of banks), followed by Dutch airline, KLM, which has a 7.8 per cent stake in the company.

The airline's woes started several years ago, which culminated in the removal of top managers, led by CEO Titus Naikuni.

In an interview with a local radio station, a candid Kilavuka said the airline had put in place all the requisite measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and return to the skies.

In Kenya domestic flights resumed on 15 July, while international passenger flights resumed on 1 August.

Due to the outbreak coronavirus around the world earlier in the year, the Kenyan government put in place measures to monitor and curb the spread of the disease.

The measures aimed at maintaining the highest levels of safety, security and hygiene, included the closure of the Kenyan airspace.

-0- PANA DJ/MA 21Aug2020