Kenya Airways to send home 600 workers

National carrier Kenya Airways will send home 600 employees in its rationalisation plan starting in May 2016. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • KQ Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze described the move as one of the "hard decisions" the airline has had to make to improve profitability.
  • The flag carrier hopes to scoop some Sh2 billion and spend it in various initiatives, mainly focused on increasing revenue and cost reduction.
  • The 600 staff to be made redundant will be drawn from various departments and all cadres of staff.

Kenya Airways (KQ) will send home 600 employees in its rationalisation plan starting May 2016.

Airline officials hope the layoffs, which are part of the struggling carrier's “Operation Pride” turnaround programme, will fly it to profitability.

The redundancies are likely to arouse a backlash from aviation workers' unions, one of which has clashed with Kenya Airways on several occasions.

KQ Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze described the move as one of the "hard decisions" the airline has had to make to improve profitability.

He said the heavily indebted carrier would also re-examine its operating model and network and seek a long-term financial structure.

“The decision is not made lightly, and I want to thank all employees for their tremendous resilience and commitment in serving our guests in challenging times for the company.

'OPERATION PRIDE'

"I am confident that with the support of all staff, unions, shareholders, creditors, financiers and all other stakeholders, Operation Pride will bring back the airline’s long term profitability and reconfirm our position as the Pride of Africa,” Mr Ngunze said.

The flag carrier hopes to recoup some Sh2 billion and spend it on various initiatives, mainly focused on increasing revenue and reducing costs.

KQ says its turnaround plan is on course, having disposed of some of her redundant aircraft and subleased others. The carrier also claimed to have reduced waste in catering, and renegotiated some contracts.

“So as to achieve these targets, the board has, after re-evaluating the various options, come to the painful decision that part of the required overhead savings will be derived from a decrease in staff headcount,” read a statement from the airline released late Thursday afternoon.

The 600 staff to be made redundant will be drawn from various departments and all cadres of staff. A list is being drawn detailing the specific positions to be eliminated.

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