KQ rehires laid-off employees on higher ticket demand

Kenya Airways (KQ) is now rehiring employees it sacked last year on the back of heightened coronavirus effects.

The move comes at a time when the airline is experiencing a boom in ticket bookings as the world heads into festive season.

At the onset of the pandemic, KQ laid off hundreds of employees and effected pay cuts of up to 30 percent and its CEO 80 percent to stay afloat.

The airline lost 1,123 employees to close 2020 with 3,652, in a period when coronavirus-related air travel restrictions saw it record the highest loss in its history. Half of the airline staff left through resignations or voluntary early retirements.

As of August 2020, the airline had sent home at least 650 workers, according to a report by the Business Daily.

National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) losses dropped from Ksh.14. 4 billion to Ksh.11.5 billion in the first half of 2021.

The airline attributed the improvement in its loss position to lower consumption of fuel due to fewer flights, reduction in fleet ownership costs following negotiations with aircraft owners who lease planes to KQ as well as a drop in operating cost over the six months.

In the period under review, the airline’s revenues dropped to Ksh.27.35 billion as a result of COVID-19 compared to Ksh.30.21 billion registered during a similar period last year.

According to the carrier’s chief executive Allan Kilavuka, the airline’s foothold in travel within Africa remained largely subdued on account of travel restrictions against the pandemic.

This coupled with the slow deployment of vaccines in the majority of African countries including Kenya who so far has vaccinated just about two percent of the total population continues to deter travelers to the continent.

In light of the challenges affecting the European market, the airline reported a 94 percent drop in passengers to the European Union (E.U)

KQ’s cargo revenues went up 6o percent as the airline focused on freighter operations even as the airline targets more growth in the short term as well as transporting COVID-19 vaccines within Africa.

“Cargo has been contributing about 10 percent to our revenues but we want to increase this to over 20 percent in the coming years. Repurposing two Dreamliners has helped grow the cargo we can ferry to 500 tonnes per month,” said Kilavuka.

The airline has narrowed its losses compared to last year’s when it tripled losses in its pretax profit to record Ksh.36.573 billion.

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