How workers strike deepened troubles for Kenya Airways, the pride of Africa


Passengers caught up in the melee at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi on ...
Passengers caught up in the melee at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi on March 7, 2019. Photo/REUTERS

In Summary

  • When such an incident occurs an airline suffers unplanned costs including parking fees for the aircrafts.
  • An airline must remedy the situation for passengers and transporters.
  • This may include hotel accommodation for passengers on long flights who have to cope with a long delay.

At least 200 flights take off or land daily at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

On Wednesday, an estimated 120 flights had been scheduled to depart from East African hub carrying an estimated 8,236 passengers.

Their destinations varied from domestic airports to those around Africa and beyond.

However, following the aviation workers strike, at least 34 Kenya Airways (KQ) flights were cancelled.

Many other airlines were forced to reschedule their flights which saw them incur unforeseen grounding costs whose effects will be felt for weeks or even months.

114 flights were scheduled to land at the same airport with 7,641 passengers; the same aircrafts expected to depart with other passengers.

The air traffic was expected to be high with a flight taking off or landing every few minutes.

By 10am, when Transport CS James Macharia announced the situation had been contained, 50 flights should have already left and another 40 arrived.

This was not so as most of them were rerouted while others did not leave their ports of origin.

JKIA attends to at least 40 passenger airlines and another 25 cargo airlines with Kenya Airways bearing the brunt of the disruption.

Out of 50 flights affected, KQ reports that 34 were cancelled, ten delayed while six were operating albeit after inconveniences.

12 of the affected flights were destined for local destinations like Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret.

Ten flights were within East Africa and 22 for the rest of Africa, the farthest being Accra Ghana.

To remedy the situation Kenya Airways had to reschedule some of the flights and combine others while giving priority to long flights.

For instance, KQ 100 destined for London, had been scheduled to depart at 9.30 am but was rescheduled to leave at 1.15 pm; by which time KQ reported that passengers had boarded.

When such an incident occurs, an airline suffers unplanned costs including parking fees for the aircrafts.

An airline must remedy the situation for passengers and transporters: this may include hotel accommodation for passengers on long flights who have to cope with a long delay.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) may have to compensate the affected airlines for the inconveniencing losses.

In 2018, KQ made a loss of Ksh.4billion by half year in June with events of Wednesday deepening the troubles for the pride of Africa.

KQ also released a statement to its passengers to consider three options by midnight Wednesday.

To either seek full refund for unutilised tickets, in case a ticket is partially utilised 70percent of return fare could be refunded.

Passengers who wish to change their itinerary can rebook at no cost but by midnight Wednesday.

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Story By Sam Gituku
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