By Ndune Mwaringa
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) is proposing a restructuring of the Kenya Airways (KQ) Board to make it more efficient, among other raft of proposals it says will ensure the company return to profitability.
The KALPA team pointed out that the KQ Board of Directors is infiltrated with individuals not related to the aviation sector in terms of career and experience. They argue that this is witnessed incompetence in handling aviation proceedings. They suggest the KQ board should comprise a pilot nominee of KALPA, an aviation maintenance expert, aircraft acquisition and financing expert, an air cargo management expert, a Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) representative, an aviation auditor, and a nominee from the association of tourism and hotel sectors.
They also insisted on a nominee from the horticulture, floriculture and meat and livestock exporters owing to the seven percent horticulture represented in the business, and proved sustainable even during the pandemic.
They acknowledged the sluggish growth the airline underwent and came up with the various ideologies that could be implemented to revive this giant. The team argued that KQ cement links with prime drivers in the agriculture and tourism sectors to raise Kenya’s rank on the global scale. This was witnessed especially in the middle east airlines when the tourism sector engaged a downward spiral in revenue margins in ticket sales. This was the pivotal driver in the integration of economic value chains for air carriers in the region.
The pilot’s body encouraged county governments to promote their output and notable produce in all of the KQ’s destinations. For example, Saudi Arabia’s prime meat import was considered, on account that it takes 19 hours to move it from Australia, while Kenya is only a four-hour flight away. This could be fulfilled under the North Eastern population, which is majorly composed of Muslims, whose dietary provision is mainly Halal and utilized as a supply source.
In the same vein, seafood exports from Mombasa port to Europe take 90 days, that in comparison, takes up to 11 transport days to the US. The notable contrast between 90 days at sea and 11 days of air should be enough provocation to invest more in flying.
KALPA recognized the opportunity in moving cargo that did not decline compared to the near standstill in passenger flights. Due to operational inefficiencies, most local and international clients have fancied rival airlines to the national carrier. Derived from recent cargo statistics at JKIA, 300, 000 metric tons moved. Out of this amount, Kenya Airways only handled a mere 7 percent of the total representing the faith required to restore KQ’s glory.
They pitched that KQ should take advantage of the market gap created by the exit of South African Airways in both cargo and passenger demand.
Other revenues generating options included are USA-Kenya trade deals, through code-sharing with American airlines as Kenya Airways only currently utilizes five percent of the trade deals available.