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Mass resignations hit Kenya Airways on Covid travel slump

Companies

Mass resignations hit Kenya Airways on Covid travel slump


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • National carrier Kenya Airways’ staff resigned en masse last year as the airline resorted to a hiring freeze, unpaid leaves, pay cuts and retrenchments to survive the Covid-19 turbulence.
  • The airline disclosed in its latest annual report that it lost 1,123 employees to close the year with 3,652, in a period when coronavirus-related air travel restrictions saw it record the highest loss in its history.

National carrier Kenya Airways’ staff resigned en masse last year as the airline resorted to a hiring freeze, unpaid leaves, pay cuts and retrenchments to survive the Covid-19 turbulence.

The airline disclosed in its latest annual report that it lost 1,123 employees to close the year with 3,652, in a period when coronavirus-related air travel restrictions saw it record the highest loss in its history.

KQ says half of the exits of 561 employees left through resignations or voluntary early retirements amid fears that the carrier’s recovery will take longer following the slump in global travel.

KQ froze new employment from February last year and sent part of its workforce on unpaid leave, with those remaining taking pay cuts of between 35 percent and 75 percent.

The carrier was already struggling long before the pandemic hit, something that might have informed the voluntary walkouts. Others left over the uncertainty that set in after the aviation sector was hit hard as countries put in place measures limiting movement.

Aviation experts last year projected that it would take at least three years for the industry to recover to the pre-pandemic period.

“In February 2020, all recruitments were frozen due to cost-cutting measures and later due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Caroline Armstrong, the KQ human resources committee chairperson.

“The total attrition rate was…

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