A massive brain drain at the troubled Kenya Airways has left the airline’s technical department dangerously understaffed leading to delays and safety concerns.
A report by the Star quoted sources who attributed the recent increase in flight disruptions and cancellations to technical hitches following loss of engineers who have been poached by moneyed Middle East airlines (read Qatar Airways and Emirates).
“There is a massive brain drain. People are jumping ship and where it is really hurting is the technical department,” said a well-placed source whose identity was not revealed.
Sources who sought anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, reportedly said at least 50 engineers have tendered their resignations from the national carrier this year alone, with more expected to follow suit.
“Technical managers are sometimes the ones who are being tasked to do checks on aircrafts and they are overstretched. They do maintenance work up to the bare minimum legal standards for a flight to take off and therefore, of course, small technical issues keep cropping up,” a source was quoted by the paper.
The paper also cites a letter Kenya Airline Pilots Association penned to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority’s boss Gilbert Kibe, asking him to look into the matter, which could affect the airline’s safety record.
“Resignations have become the order of the day and moreso within the technical department. This is a very critical department, and this high attrition has led to a galore of flight cancellations, aircraft technical issues and even air turn turnbacks,” reads part of the mail dated August 31 and undersigned by Kalpa secretary general Captain Paul Gichinga.
“These events have largely been linked to poor workmanship, which has been attributed to inexperience, work overload and unrealistic shifting patterns,” it goes to state further.
This revelation is happening just a few days after Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua criticised Kenya Airways via his Facebook page for mishaps in a flight from Johannesburg which he was a passenger.
“We took off from OR Tambo at noon on yesterday (Tuesday) and we suspected a problem on take off but somehow we successfully settled in the skies. We were about to exit the South African airspace towards Zimbabwe when the Captain announced a Transponder failure and said we were returning to Jo’burg,” Mutua shared his frustrations in the post on August 24.
“Now, a transponder is a vital equipment and no aircraft can safely fly without it. We were supposed to land in 15 minutes but half an hour later we were still maneuvering landing, which made us suspect we were not being told the truth.”
Some of the flights that have been faced cancellations recently include KQ 117 night flight from Amsterdam (last Saturday), and KQ886 to Bangkok on Sunday night.
Also a Jo’Burg-bound plane was forced to turn back to JKIA a few days ago following hitches on the plane.
Via the Star