NAIROBI Feb 10 Kenya Airways is
considering offering higher wages to entice back dozens of
engineers who quit the loss-making carrier to join Gulf-based
airlines in the past year, its chairman said on Friday.
The airline, part-owned by the state and part-owned by
AirFrance KLM, sank into the red four years ago after
tourism slumped following a spate of attacks in Kenya by
militants from the Somalia-based al Shabaab Islamist group.
Its financial predicament caused salary delays and
industrial action, with 70 engineers quitting the carrier to
join airlines mainly in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The
Kenyan airline currently has about 600 engineers.
"We have had an exodus of engineers from Kenya Airways ...
We will be looking at some adjustments in packages and things
like that to attract them back," recently appointed chairman
Michael Joseph told reporters.
He said they were also in discussions with pilots union
KALPA to allow them to hire foreign pilots on short-term
contracts if the need arises.
"We may have a shortage of pilots as well," he said, adding
that the firm was seeking to lift the productivity and
efficiency of existing pilots.
Joseph said he was interviewing candidates to replace
outgoing Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze, who is set to leave at
the end of March.
In November, KALPA had threatened an indefinite strike and
had demanded the removal of the airline's previous chairman
Dennis Awori and chief executive Ngunze. The new chairman said
he expects interviews for the CEO post to be concluded by the
end of this month.
In the three months to December, the airline posted a 4
percent increase in passenger numbers.
A capital restructuring exercise, being led by PJT Partners
, is set to be concluded by the end of March, Joseph
said, without offering details.
(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Edmund Blair and Elaine