Kenya’s national airline cuts staff as part of “Operation Pride”

Kenya Airways (KQ) over the past few months embarked on a determined exercise to map out the financial turnaround of the airline, dubbed “Operation Pride.”

Today, phase one gets underway, being part of the more painful exercises, to streamline staff deployment.

Operation Pride is expected to deliver over US$200 million of value through various initiatives, half of which focus on increase in revenue and the other half on cost reduction. Sources from within the airline say they are on track with their plan, having successfully implemented some of the initiatives such as the sale and sublease of aircrafts, the reduction of waste in catering, and renegotiation of some contracts.

To achieve this, Kenya Airways’ top management have had to make some difficult decisions to initiate substantial changes on all aspects of the airline’s business, including reducing the fleet in line with the current fiscal realities. It is in this light that KQ today announced its intention to right size the organization to align with the reduced fleet size and improve productivity of staff across the network.

According to information just received, Kenya Airways has issued a notice to right size through staff redundancies and redeployment on March 31 as required by law, and an update was issued to staff on May 4 following intense consultations with all parties involved.

“During this period, we have stress-tested the accuracy of our right-sizing estimates in order to ensure that we have identified all possible ways to retain staff as well as securing the airline’s long-term operational efficiency,” said Kenya Airways Group Managing Director & CEO Mbuvi Ngunze a short while ago before adding:

“Today, we will commence with the first phase of redundancies which will impact approximately 80 staff members. We are cognizant that this is a difficult period for Kenya Airways and employee assistance will be available for affected staff at the time of the exercise and for 2 weeks thereafter. The process will be in full compliance with labor laws, Collective Bargaining Agreements, and individual staff members’ contracts as appropriate.”

Mr. Mbuvi reportedly looked pained himself as he made the announcement after having to let go an initial 80 staff and probable some more thereafter. He then concluded his statement when he said: “The decision communicated above is not made lightly, and I want to thank all employees for their tremendous resilience and commitment in serving our guests in challenging times for the company. I also want to thank our people affected in this process for their commitment and hard work and wish them every success in their future endeavors.”