A Kenya Airways jet. Dan Okwiri, who was the Cargo Capacity Revenue Manager, details how the west African route is the most affected since customers usually carry or sent items such as mobile phones and hard cash. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kenya Airways has suspended all flights. [Photo/Business Today]

Kenya Airways (KQ) has put all flights on hold as the impact of the covid-19 coronavirus paralyses operations globally affecting most airlines.

KQ’s latest move comes after the airline suspended all international passenger flights in what could likely hit the carrier’s profits hard.

In a video statement shared on their social media platforms, KQ said that for the first time in 40 years, they were pausing all flights.

Here’s the video:

“For over 40 years it’s been our pride to connect Africa to the World and the World to Africa. For the first time in our history we’ve put a pause on our flights. But as we do, we can’t wait to take to the skies with you again. Thank you for your loyalty. Stay safe. #TogetherWeCan.”

According to the chief executive, the airline has not yet reached the tipping point where it would be forced to layoff its employees but the pay cuts are a necessary measure if the business is to stay afloat.

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“We are therefore not taking any decision on layoffs. Instead, we would like everybody to participate in taking a salary reduction and paid and unpaid leave,” added the Kilavuka.

Last week the airline announced drastic reductions in the number of flights to London, Paris and Dubai but the possibility that the company could suspend operations if the current trend persists is now becoming a possibility.

The airline has encouraged non-technical staff to take their annual leaves effective immediately.

Senior management will from April 1 take a one week paid leave and three weeks unpaid leave while the lower-level employees will be on two weeks paid leave and 2 weeks unpaid leave. All staff required on duty will be on 25% or 50% pay depending on their pay grade.

However, as much as the airline’s staff are having to take home much lower than they are worth, the airline has promised to reimburse them in the future when the company is in good standing financially.

“We are in unfamiliar territory and are constantly and carefully evaluating our options. We are also in continuous consultation with the government to appraise them of the situation and find ways in which they can support us,” said Kilavuka.

The new measures have been communicated to the relevant workers.

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