Kenya Airways has threatened to suspend its flights unless pilots call off a planned seven-day strike, the latest turbulence to hit the once ‘pride of Africa’ carrier.
The airline said the planned strike was already making it accumulate losses due to an increase in cancellations.
According to the Financial Times, the Kenya Airways pilots are demanding the resignation of the CEO, Mbuvi Ngunze and the chairman Dennis Awori – also former Kenyan ambassador to Japan – because of their inability to straighten the company after four consecutive years of losses.
The national carrier, which is 29% owned by Kenya’s government, has been hit by a slump in tourism caused by Islamist attacks at its Westgate shopping mall and the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
In 2015, the airline reported a loss of Ksh 26bn ($263m), the biggest in corporate Kenya’s history.
On Thursday, Kenya Airways announced its interim results, which will be published on October 27, showed a decrease in net half-year losses from Kshs 12bn to Kshs 5 bn shillings and a small increase of 4% in passenger traffic.
The same day, Dennis Awori announced that he would retire from the company, without specifying the date. “I’m about to start, in fact,” he told Bloomberg. “I started the recovery and Kenya Airways needs someone who has a lot longer than me.”
Earlier in the year, Ngunze announced that the company was planning to raise $300 million to revive its operations.