Layoffs at KQ are a necessary evil

In Summary

• Kenya Airways has cut its fleet by a third and reduced flights and frequencies

• Consequently 490 staff are now being laid off out of a total workforce of 4,300

Kenya Airways plane at JKIA.
Kenya Airways plane at JKIA.
Image: FILE

The Kenya Airways Group MD yesterday sent out an email announcing that 490 staff are about to be laid off from KQ's 4,300 workforce (see P15).

Alan Kilavuka said the KQ turnaround would take at least three years. Load factors are still below 60 percent for domestic flights and below 40 percent for international flights. Profitability is still a distant mirage.

Flights and frequencies have been cut.  The fleet has been cut from 38 to 24 planes so it is inevitable that there will be layoffs, or 'rightsizing' in HR speak.


Airlines all over the world are in the same position. Over 30,000 pilots are now unemployed globally. Emirates is cutting 15 percent of its workforce and British Airways is laying off 25 percent. No airline is immune.

What is vital is that KQ survives to play its strategic role in securing Nairobi and Kenya as the business hub for eastern Africa.

It is tragic that Kenya Airways needs to lay off staff. The restructuring should be done respectfully and staff should be paid all their dues. This is a necessary evil and KQ can only try to soften the blow.

Quote of the day: "A revolution is not a bed of roses."

Fidel Castro
The Cuban President was born on August 13, 1926