Kenya Airways is forced to cut flights as shortage of pilots is costing the airline $50 million a year. For now, the airline has 435 pilots and requires an additional 62 to continue smooth operations.
The shortage is mainly attributed to low recruitment and attrition rate. The airline is seeking to hire 20 pilots on two year contracts. However, nationality is a challenge because the Kenya Airline Pilots Association is against the idea of employing foreigners on the grounds that there are enough pilots without a job in the country.
Kenya Airways argues that all pilots in the country are not skilled to fly its jets. The media reported that the airline’s 414 pilots are carrying out schedules that require 600 pilots.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association is in discussion with the airline’s management about increasing the pay scale to enhance performance. Kenya airways pilots protest that the airline owes them 40,000 days of annual leave.
According to the media, Director of Operations Paul Njoroge said in a letter to the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, “This means the market share we have fought hard to win shall be eroded and winning this back will be a much harder task.”
Njoroge added that the airline requires 106 pilots to cover for those undergoing training. Of the 435 pilots, 44 are being trained for promotion, as necessitated by a collective bargaining agreement. With that, 10 percent of the airline’s pilots will have no commission for six to 24 months.
Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz said that the pilots shortage will negatively impact the airline’s reputation.