Pilots in the country now want national carrier Kenya Airways saved from possible collapse.

Through their association, the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa), the pilots also accused the airline’s management of mistreating them.

Association general-secretary Captain Ronald Karauri said Kenya Airways was “literally on its knees” due to poor management and called upon relevant authorities to intervene.

“In 2012, Kenya Airways proceeded to retrench 447 employees in a move that was supposed to save over Sh1 billion annually. The public was made to believe that this was the panacea for all the problems bedeviling and already declining brand,” said Mr Karauri, in a press statement published in Friday’s newspapers.

The pilot claimed that, three years later, the national carrier had continued to perform poorly financially and blamed it on poor management.

He also blamed the management for terminating the employment of 10 senior pilots “under the guise of early retirement” and obtaining a court order that barred other plots from engaging in a strike to protest the layoff.

DENIED LEAVE

“While it claims to have a surplus of pilots, the airline management continues to deny pilots leave with some pilots having not gone for leave for more than two years despite applying several times for the same,” added Mr Karauri.

The management, he added, had gone ahead to fire young pilots on “flimsy and unjustifiable grounds” in a bid to intimidate the pilots’ union.

Kalpa also accused the national carrier of reneging on several agreements signed between them and called upon stakeholders to protect the airline’s employees.

But while responding to the allegations, Kenya Airways chief executive Mr Mbuvi Ngunze said the airline had been in discussions with Kalpa regarding the collective bargaining agreement, adding that the negotiations were the subject of “both a conciliation with the Ministry of Labour and an Industrial Court process”.

“The allegations made by Kalpa in the press statement issued on July 3, 2015 go against ongoing talks and court orders issued. Kenya Airways is committed to finding an amicable, judicial closure to this matter,” added Mr Ngunze in a statement to the Nation.