Kenya Airways CEO dismisses accusations of mismanagement

Kenya airways’ outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Sebastian Mikosz has come out guns blazing to defend his record at the helm of the national carrier.

Speaking on the margins of a regional aviation conference, Mikosz has dismissed claims of overseeing the mismanagement of the airline that were leveled against him by the Kenya airline pilots association last week.

The proposal to nationalize the troubled airline remains just that, with the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yattani saying it is not the right time to do so. Kenya airways has been flying through turbulent times, seemingly unending woes; the latest being a looming pilot strike.

The pilots are threatening to down their tools over what they say is the mismanagement of the already ailing national carrier. But speaking today on the margins of a regional aviation conference, the airline’s CEO Sebastian Mikosz insisted that the airline is right on course.

Sebastian said that there is no mismanagement and that is propaganda. The airline is doing well. Their profit margins have increased and debt has decreased and they ventured into new and profitable routes including Mogadishu, New York and Geneva.

The airline’s chairman, Michael Joseph also came to Sebastian’s defence saying that everyone’s claiming mismanagement and asked why are are they killing their own airline? Besides mismanagement, the Kenya airline pilots association claims that Kenyan pilots are receiving the short end of the stick as KQ is employing foreign pilots; an assertion KQ’S CEO has denied.

Sebastian said that they were are not hiring foreign pilots and that they are committed to hiring Kenyan pilots. However they do have a shortage of pilots and due to the nature of the job it is not easy to find highly qualified individuals. He insisted that they are taking in pilots and training them and that takes time as this is a Kenyan airline and Kenyans have priority when it comes to job opportunities.

KQ’S fate is also hanging in the balance, with the national assembly having approved a proposal to nationalize the carrier in a bid to resolve the airline’s technical insolvency; a proposal that the national treasury, which holds a 48% stake in KQ, differs with.

Currently the time is not right for nationalization. KQ doesn’t need nationalization. It needs support and room to be allowed to grow through its business turmoil face and find a way around it.

While Kenya airways’ chairman, Michael Joseph agrees that nationalization could help the airline, he has cautioned against the entry of political interests into the management of the airline.

Michael said that nationalization is not what KQ wants, it’s what the airline needs. It’s the only way that they will have subsided costs thus helping them cut their operation cost, revise their prices and be competitive in the market against airlines such as Ethiopia airlines or even Rwanda Air

Whether KQ will be nationalized or not, that is a wait and see.

What is for sure is that if swift and radical interventions are not made to resuscitate the airline and propel it back to profit making ways, the Pride of Africa may soon find itself edged out by competition from foreign airlines that fly into the continent. 

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