Pilots report KQ in plane speeding row

Pilots report KQ in plane speeding row

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ is on a fresh collision course with the pilots’ union after it asked its crew to fly faster on the Nairobi-Guangzhou route and halved the number of pilots on every trip in its latest cost-cutting plan.

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) Secretary-General Murithi Nyagah says that directing pilots to cruise at a cost index of 300 on the route is illegal as it risks the lives of passengers and crew.

But KQ, as the carrier is known by its international code, maintained that all its flights are operated within the Kenyan law, the manufacturer’s flight crew training manual and the agreement with the union.

In a response to Business Daily queries, KQ Director of Operations Paul Njoroge said the Civil Aviation Act allows for duty time of up to 15 hours on international flights and 20 hours when three or more pilots are carried in the aircraft.

“Kenya Airways operates its flights to London, Amsterdam, Paris and used to operate to Bangkok and Hanoi with one captain and one first officer and these flights have a maximum duty time of 12 hours just like the China flight with the increased speed,” Mr Njoroge said.

“The agreement between KQ and the pilots union allows for flights up to a maximum or 10 hours and 30 minutes flight time with one captain and one first officer and all our flights are with the Kenyan law, within the approved operators’ manual flight scheme and within the agreement with the union.”

Flight time is from the time you take off to the time you land while duty time is from the time you report at the airport to the time you leave the airport.

Mr Nyagah in the letter addressed to KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka accuses the airline of prioritising commercial interest over safety.

“The director of operations’ action amounts to gross negligence and misconduct as it disregards safety as the principal guidance but rather chose to prioritise commercial interest as the basis of his decisions,” says Mr Nyagah wrote.

The airline has also cut the number of pilots in a single flight from four to two in an effort to save on allowances and hotel costs.

But pilots argue that this will lead to fatigue on long routes and that it is against the standard practice where airlines fly at least four pilots on a single trip.“Considering the serious breaches in safety and legal requirements, the regulator, KCAA […]

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