KQ suspends direct flights to Gabon, Benin

Kenya Airways (KQ) has suspended its flights to Gabon and Benin ahead of the impending low air-traffic season which kicks-off next month.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Kenya Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Ursula Silling said KQ will be suspending flights to the two West Africa nations effective October 14.

Travellers who had already booked flights to the affected destinations will be rerouted or rebooked through KQ partner airlines.

“We have made the necessary arrangements to continue serving our customers who had made forward bookings through our existing cooperation with partner airlines to ensure no disruption to their travel,” said Silling.

The carrier has attributed the hold of flights to Libreville, Gabon and Cotonou, Benin to ongoing network rationalization in line with the changing market demand.

The cut back on KQ’s network comes just days after Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz denied reports on an impending trim of routes on the back of accelerated impairment costs from heightened flight delays in 2019.

Even so, the carrier has denied linkages between the suspension of flights to Gabon and Benin with that of its fiasco with pilots on delays.

“This is purely a result of the upcoming low season and wouldn’t be a consequence of the delayed flights,” Kenya Airways Corporate Communications Office told Citizen Digital.

Kenya Airways had hinted at a cutback in network earlier this month while attributing the move to erosion of brand from the disgruntlement of clients over delays.

This even as KQ’s board lashed out at pilots over the delays accusing them of dereliction of duty in the midst of an acute pilot’s shortage.

“As a result of the above losses, in the next few weeks, we shall be reducing the network to avoid further erosion of the brand due to the disruptions,” read a leaked memo to pilots undersigned by KQ Operations Chairman Paul Njoroge.

The carrier’s recent flight trend has however been on the positive with KQ having stuck to network expansion in the last year to include new entries in Mogadishu, New York and Geneva. KQ CEO Sebastian Mikosz insists on a need to ‘sweat out assets’ with a view of reaping from the efficiency created from a larger network and frequency.

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