News that Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots will reject planes from the national carrier following a maintenance row is worrying as the move is likely to cause more flight cancellations and delays.
The pilots’ accusations against their employer are serious, and though KQ maintains that the practice of maintenance dispatch known as ‘Crew Concept’ is in line with aviation rules, the public fights between the two parties do not inspire confidence. The pilots have now signaled that they will, in protest, ground flights whose maintenance checks have not been signed off by engineers.
While it is not immediately clear who is right and who is wrong, what is obvious is that airlines should not engage in practices that are likely to compromise the safety of their planes and passengers.
On the other hand, it is clear that there is bad blood between the national carrier‘s management and the pilots’ union.
Their bitter rows over the years, whether over pay or hiring of new pilots, do not seem to be getting resolved and are likely hampering the airline’s recovery bid.
It would be wrong if the pilots’ union was engaging in public battles with the carrier as a means of arm twisting KQ into giving in to its demands.
Both the pilots and the airline need to get their act together and figure out a way to resolve their disputes amicably and, where possible, away from the public eye.