The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) has criticized Kenya Airways management over a plan to hire foreign pilots directly to the Boeing 737.
Through General Secretary Murithi Nyagah, the association claims the move is misplaced and will only continue to deny Kenyans jobs that they deserve.
“From a flight-deck perspective, we are perturbed by recent developments in KQ about this matter. The Kenyan Pilot is being disenfranchised. This is being carried out through blatant breaches of existing mutual agreements,” he said.
“Of particular concern is the recent move by KQ to commence recruitment of 20 foreign Pilots directly to the Boeing 737, a move that is in clear breach of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the airline and KALPA.”
The association questioned the wisdom behind the hiring of the new pilots directly to Boeing 737 yet there is a standard procedure for such promotion.
According to a statement from KALPA, currently, KQ has three fleets, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 737 and Embraer. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the senior-most fleet while the Embraer is the junior-most.
It says that the Embraer, therefore, serves as the entry fleet for the employment of Pilots, both Captains and First Officers. After gaining the necessary experience, Pilots then move to the Boeing 737 and subsequently to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
“This is the standard mode of promotion and movement of Pilots within the organisation. In this respect, attempts by KQ to get foreigners to come indirectly as Captains on the Boeing 737 is a move that bypasses suitable Kenyan Pilots on the Embraer.”
“This move denies Kenyan Captains on the Embraer from proceeding to their rightfully earned positions on the Boeing 737,” he says.
Nyagah who is also the KALPA Chief Executive Officer noted that every week, an average minimum of 30 flights are cancelled on the Embraer due to inability to get Pilots.
He added that this is the reason why the emphasis is to get additional help on the Embraer, through recruitment of direct entry Kenyan and expatriate Captains.
“It is, therefore, puzzling as to why KQ management chooses to emphasise recruitment of foreign Pilots directly to the Boeing 737, yet a serious shortage of Pilots persists on the Embraer,” he says.
“It would be prudent for KQ management to concentrate on recruiting Pilots to the Embraer for assignment to the scheduled flights, thus curbing financial losses.”
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