NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya Airways will not cede to pressure from pilots not to fly to China over strict covid-19 testing measures put in place for all arriving passengers set out by the Chinese government.
The airline's Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka says they are exploring several options to ensure flights into China are not disrupted.
On Wednesday the Kenya Airline Pilots Association raised concerns over the manner in which pilots on Guangzhou, China operations are handled in relation to covid-19 containment measures.
The association protests the extraction of a blood sample which it advises pilots opposed to the method to forward their names to the chief pilot’s office for immediate action.
In a statement, the association said it raised concerns over the manner in which the test is conducted with the management of the national carrier which KQ Chief Executive Officer has not responded to.
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The association says it has raised numerous concerns in previous meetings and proposed a number of solutions that it claims the KQ management has refused to implement.
“It is indeed shameful that crew continue to undergo inhumane treatment in China under management’s watch, despite their crucial role in ensuring a safe and commercially viable operation,” said Murithi Nyagah, Chief Executive Officer KALPA.
It has vowed to take legal action if Kenya Airways leadership does not arrive at an amicable solution.
Captain Murithi Nyagah said pilots are still hopeful for an amicable solution with the national carrier to avert actions that may affect operations on the route.
“We are in talks with the Kenya Airways management and we believe they will consider our concerns when the right time comes,” he said.
In a phone interview with KTN News, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka acknowledged the concerns of the pilots but termed them as being out of context.
He said the airline is exploring multiple options to avert a crisis as the airline will be hard hit if the Guangzhou route is disrupted.
China has heightened surveillance to avoid another resurgence of infections by requiring all arriving passengers to undergo a blood test over and above the regular nose and throat swab tests. This has not gone down well with pilots.