Kenya Airways implementing voluntary staff exit to cut costs

National carrier Kenya Airways has reduced its staff numbers by 220 from the start of the year in a voluntary early retirement exercise undertaken to cut down costs.

KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka says they are aiming at reducing staff costs by 35% and are in talks with some of its aircraft lessors to reduce payments on its fleet by up to 50% until the aviation industry recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic .

“We started the exercise with the aim of not only allowing some of  our senior to leave voluntarily but also right size the organisation as well,” says Kilavuka.

KQ is looking to reduce payments to the lessors by 50% to aid the already cash strapped airline stay afloat.

“We have talked to some of them though not all and they are understanding of the situation as its not only us but the whole industry,” added the CEO.

In a memo to staff last month Kenya airways said it planned further pay cuts for employees of as much as 30%.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), its initial forecast of 50% of pre-crisis passenger traffic levels in 2021 has a downside risk as governments respond to new COVID-19 variants. The association further says global passenger traffic fell 66% and cargo demand by 10.6% in full-year 2020.