By Edna Mwende
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) has refuted claims that its members’ pay packages are part of the financial woes facing Kenya Airways (KQ) and instead attributed the problems to high cost of tickets, poor management and high expatriates’ pay.
Appearing before the National Assembly Transport and Housing Committee last week, the association’s Secretary General Mureithi Nyaga dismissed comments by the KQ Chief Executive Officer that the airline pilots are the best paid in Africa and that their pay is taking up a big share of the airline’s income.
In a news report by the Business Daily, KQ has lost 130 pilots to the Middle East airlines in the past one year due to poor pay according to KALPA with Mr Nyaga being quoted as having told the committee that:
“Our members have moved to the Middle East airlines who are offering better packages. Why are they not turning down the offers if they are the best paid by KQ?”
According to the Business Daily report, the KQ CEO Sebastian Mikosz had in a different sitting before the same committee said that the pilots take home Sh1.6 million per month despite flying only 533 hours in a year to which the association’s Secretary General said:
“The figures the CEO stated are exaggerated. I am not aware where the CEO of Kenya Airways got the Sh1.6 million he was telling you about.”
Mr Nyaga went ahead to explain to the committee that the pilots fly 780 hours in a year with pilots flying the Boeing earning a gross salary of Ksh483,350 while those flying Embraer earn Ksh407,916. He also added that the captains get a house allowance of Sh36,000 while first officers get Sh30,814.
This comes shortly after news reports indicated that pilots of the national carrier accounted for 13 per cent of the airline’s total workforce and took home the equivalent of 45 per cent of the overall payout to employees.