Kenya Airways pilots are pushing for a revision of the airline’s management and board of directors, arguing that the current leadership cannot turn the airline around.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) wants the board of directors to be comprised of professionals from industries who work directly with KQ.
In a proposed structure, the pilot lobby said that board members should come from actors in related sectors such as the aviation industry, horticulture, travel and tourism. The industries work directly with KQ on a daily basis.
This would be a departure from the current scenario, in which investors determine who sits on the airline’s board of directors, which Kalpa says has not had much success in recent years.
It also suggested rethinking the governance structure. “We need new leadership that has a different style of leadership; people who do good for the local employees and create trust that the Kenyan taxpayer must invest in the company,” Kalpa said in a public announcement.
“According to Covid, the board of directors should also consist of aviation experts and important relevant stakeholders in addition to investors.” It states: “A new organizational structure should be created with a direct focus on the core functions and revenue streams of KQ for the airline and the country as a whole … qualified Kenyans should be given priority.”
The mighty pilot lobby has historically been a major contributor to the departure of high-ranking officials from the airline, including a board chairman and a board chairman. The association also wishes for improved relationships between the airline’s leadership and employees, noting that the frosty relationship has marred work at the airline.
“The new management must rebuild the lively team spirit that was once there. The well-being of the employees is the key. If it is disregarded, the morale, trust and loyalty of employees can be greatly influenced, little can be achieved without passionate and patriotic employees.” said Kalpa.
Kalpa said the airline could save enormous sums of money by reviewing its procurement process. It found that the freight forwarder paid “higher than the industry average” for many of the goods and services purchased from various suppliers.
It recommends getting rid of its Embraer fleet, which is mainly used by Jambojet for its local and regional flights. Instead, the lobby wants KQ to only operate Boeing aircraft that have a higher capacity for cargo and passengers – both regional and long-haul flights.
“The Embraer E190 with a seat capacity of 96 and a cargo payload of 3.3 tons is not optimized for most of the profitable regional routes, unlike the multi-purpose Boeing 737 passenger aircraft,” said Kalpa, adding: “The reorganization of the airline’s fleet on one type of manufacturer will reduce leasing rates, replacement part costs, transition and recurring training costs and time. ”
Kalpa also wants Jambojet and KQ to stop flying to the same local and regional destinations and instead play complementary roles. Kalpa’s proposals even come as the airline grapples with the possibility of not being nationalized.
KQ had campaigned for the nationalization of the airline, which they believed would create a better competitive base and cement Nairobi’s position as a continental aviation hub.
A report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that instead of nationalization, the state had implemented a multi-year restructuring program of $ 147 billion.
The Treasury Department will take on KQ’s Sh93.5 billion debt. It will offer Sh53.5 billion in direct budget support to the airline to pay off debts and cover up-front costs of restructuring.