By Spy Reporter
Nairobi: All is not well with Kenya Airways and as you read this, the Airline company has so far lost 130 pilots to Middle East carriers in the previous year. According to the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) the main reason why pilots are fleeing Kenya Airways is because of poor pay.
KALPA refuted claims by Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz that they were the best paid in Africa and that their compensation took a large share of the Airlines’ income. The association told the National Assembly Transport and housing committee last week that Kenya Airways had 430 pilots, meaning the entity is 200 heads short of capacity. They attributed this shortage to financial constraints, high cost of tickets, poor management and high expatriates pay. KALPA Secretary General Captain Mureithi Nyaga told the parliament that other international airlines have also been eyeing KQ engineers who are some of the best trained in Africa. “Our members have moved to the middle East airlines who are offering better packages, why are they not turning down the jobs if they are the best paid by KQ?” Nyaga asked.
The Secretary General told the committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing that pilots flying Boeing earn a gross salary of Ksh483, 350 (USD4,834), those flying Embraer earn Ksh407,916 (USD4,080). In addition, captains get Ksh36,000 (USD360) and first officers Ksh30,814 (USD308) as house allowance. Pilots who fly outside the country get USD200 as accommodation per night. “I am not aware where the CEO of Kenya Airways got the Ksh1.6 million (USD16,000) he was telling you about from,” Nyaga said. Mikosz had also told the committee that pilots fly 533 hours in a year but Nyaga put the time at 780 hours annually. Nyaga told MPs that many expatriates at KQ are paid millions of shillings for minimal output. “Kenya Airways has five expatriates from Israel being paid about Ksh5 million (USD50,000) per month, we don’t know what exactly they do,” Nyaga told the committee.The pilots also accuse KQ of charging high prices for their tickets hence losing customers to rival airlines such as Ethiopian airlines. “In our view as pilots, the ticket prices are exorbitant and we don’t understand how they do their calculations,” Nyaga noted.