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September 20, 2017

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Industrial action causes turbulence for already-struggling Kenya Airways

NAIROBI -- Kenya Airways, already facing financial difficulties and a threatened pilots' strike, canceled five flights on Sunday after outsourced cabin crew walked off the job.

While the stoppage only involved a small number of workers, it coincides with a deep malaise at the airline, which in July posted a net annual loss of 26.22 billion shillings (US$250 million) — the worst ever since its privatization in 1995.

The losses follow a series of disastrous strategic decisions touching on maintenance costs, a hedge on fuel prices and rising dollar-denominated loans.

"Some of our outsourced staff including cabin crew have stayed away from work from Friday and we are working with their employer to resolve any issues they may have," Kenya Airways said in a statement on Twitter.

"As per the safety regulations that the airline abides to, minimum number of cabin staff per aircraft type is required and on some of our flights we are unable reach these levels," it said.

The dispute forced the carrier to scrap flights to the Kenyan city of Mombasa, Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Juba (South Sudan), Maputo (Mozambique), and a further flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, via Lusaka, Zambia. No intercontinental flights were affected.

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