NAIROBI – Kenya Airways will lay off an unspecified number of workers, reduce its network and also get rid of some assets due to the coronavirus crisis, its chief executive said in an internal memo.
“Our short and medium-term projections indicate that we must inevitably reduce our operations before we begin to scale up again,” Allan Kilavuka wrote in the memo dated July 3, adding that the exercise will be completed by Sept. 30.
The carrier, which was struggling long even before the novel coronavirus outbreak, posted 2019 losses of almost 13 billion shillings ($122.2 million). Salaries were also cut by as much as 80% when the crisis started which led the carrier to seek a government bailout that would help mitigate the costs as a result of grounding the planes due to COVID-19.
According to Michael Joseph, the airline’s chairman, the decision to lay off workers and reduce operations was not informed by the failure to secure a bailout.
“We have to face the fact that demand for air travel is going to be reduced significantly for the next 2-3 years,” Joseph is quoted to have told Reuters on Monday, adding that other carriers were taking similar actions.