By Julius Luwemba
Several passengers who had booked their scheduled flights with Kenya Airways on Friday and Saturday remained stranded at Entebbe International Airport due to a strike by pilots.
Under their umbrella Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA), the pilots claim the airline’s management failed to address their grievances.
Vianney Luggya, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) spokesperson, confirmed that Kenya Airways flights at Entebbe had been cancelled because of the pilots strike.
“The three Kenya Airways flights for today (Saturday) are cancelled,” he said.
“Normally, when an airway cancels flights, they are supposed to pass on information to the passengers and that is what is happening. The airline is in touch with its passengers on the next way forward,” added Luggya.
In a statement, Kenya Airways apologised to its clients affected by the industrial action and urged passengers due to travel within the next 48 hours t contact them or their travel agents for assistance.
In a statement by Capt. Murithi Nganga, KALPA indicated that beginning 6am EAT on Saturday (November 5, 2022), there would be no Kenya Airways aircraft departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) flown by a KALPA member.
“On October 18, 2022, the association issued a 14-day industrial action notice to the management of Kenya Airways, as the last resort in our attempts to seek better working conditions for our members and ensure that Kenya Airways is managed professionally,” reads the statement.
“We hoped that the management of the airline would soften its hard stance and engage in a negotiation on the issue raised. However, and, as we mentioned at our press conference on November 1, 2022, Kenya Airways management has not made any meaningful attempt to engage and have these matters resolved.”
Nganga further said the alleged inaction by Kenya Airways’ management has “left us with no other option”.
“The strike notice has since expired and we are therefore at liberty to exercise our right to withdraw our labour forthwith, as enshrined in Article 41, Chapter 6 of the Kenya Constitution,” reads the statement.
“KALPA takes this opportunity to apologise to who[ever] will be affected and regret the inconvenience caused to your travel plans.”
In a statement on Friday, Kenya Airways group managing director Allan Kilavuka termed the strike “unlawful”.
“This unfortunate action may affect both our passengers who may not travel and our cargo customers, whose exports will be affected. It will greatly inconvenience travellers for business, medical, leisure, and those connecting with their loved ones,” he said.
“This could also lead to huge losses to farmers whose perishable goods are due for export.”