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Pain as KQ Retrenchment Underway

Allan Kilavuka, CEO Kenya Airways (KQ)

The cry of the KQ staff

Hello Nyakundi,

The below email was sent to all KQ staff by our CEO two weeks ago. Retrenchment is imminent, unfortunately, those who will be affected are those who work hard for the company. As usual, thieves who milk KQ dry will be left behind. Most of those who will go home probably with nothing are young people who earn peanuts despite the fact that we make a lot of money but all the money goes to cartels. Some of those who will go home have worked for KQ for more than 6 yrs others 8 years yet they have never been confirmed. KQ has been a centre.

The Email from CEO Allan Kilavuka

Good Afternoon KQ Family,

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote to you. I trust that you and your loved ones are keeping well and safe.

Let me start by thanking you for your continued dedication and commitment since we began implementing measures to ensure business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing our very best with the opportunities we have today. We intensified our focus on cargo operations and I commend the cargo team for beginning operations to Sharjah International Airport this month. We continue to operate several special charter flights to bring back Kenyans who have been stranded in other countries and evacuate nationals stuck here in Kenya. These efforts are commendable but are not adequate to meet our cash requirements.

I would like to update you on the status of our airline, and some of the developments you should expect going forward. We discussed some of these at length during our virtual townhall meeting last month, but I would like to reiterate them as they are key to the future of the airline.

I am aware that many of you may be anxious about your future given the very many variables that this COVID-19 crisis has presented. You have all read the effects that it has had on many companies, economies and more particularly airlines. Almost all global airlines have shrunk their operations in response to depressed demand, and many have received significant government support just to survive the effects of this pandemic. Kenya Airways is no different and will also have to shrink in order to survive and Government support is imperative for this to happen.

Many of you asked (and speculated) about the progress of the Nationalization process and what happens next. It is important to remember why this is being done in the first place. It was conceived pre COVID-19 with the realization that the airline was unable to compete with its traditional competition who were utilising their entire aviation assets to support their national carriers, unlike us. Nationalization and the resultant aviation sector reforms will therefore put us in a stronger position to compete in the long term. What this does not do, however is reorganise the company in response to our current challenges. The Kenya Aviation Management Bill, 2020 will soon to be tabled in parliament and set the Nationalization process in motion.

I would like to emphasise the importance of Government assistance to meet our current obligations. Any Government support that we receive will not be a panacea to our challenges but will merely help us address the severe effects on our cash because of a 90% reduction in revenue over the last three months and 50% shrinkage in anticipated demand which would otherwise force us to shut down. In addition, the Government has been very clear that they expect us to immediately address the structural and operational challenges that will address our sustainability.

ALSO READ: How Michael Joseph “Mr 10%” Returned KQ Loot After Being Busted

We have been preparing for resumption of passenger services once the Government lifts restrictions on travel. Like I mentioned in the virtual town hall meeting and in many other discussions that I have held with various interest groups, we have projected that passenger demand will drop by at least 50% in 2020. and the suppressed demand will in turn inevitably reduce our operations, network and ultimately our human resource needs.

I recognize the anxiety that this creates but also want to request for a little more time so we can make sure that any actions we take are consultative, transparent, humane and fair, just like I have promised they will be. I expect to get back to you on this in the next two weeks.

As always, I will continue to engage with you and keep you updated on any developments. In the meantime, keep safe, keep well, and have a good weekend.


Allan Kilavuka

Group Managing Director & CEO

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