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Airline Employees Needed

Kenya Airways expands regional recruitment

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Oct 13, 2010

(eTN) - A large advert in the print media early last week served notice to airlines in the region that Kenya Airways (KQ) was on the recruitment prowl, as the "Pride of Africa" sought new ways to add more and already-qualified staff to their ranks. Airline personnel in Eastern Africa, and the continent as a whole, have for years now been targeted by mainly Middle East carriers, luring them with huge packages and bonuses to become expatriates and work for them as pilots, cabin crew, aircraft technicians, and in other specialized and important sections of flight operations.

Kenya Airways countered this by progressively building up and expanding their own training academy where they teach new staff what they need to know, graduate them, and, of course, also bond them to work with KQ for an agreed number of years, before being able to leave for ‘greener pastures’ without a substantial financial penalty.

However, as recently mentioned in a related article, there is a shortage of in particular pilots now emerging, and in spite of KQ’s in-house training even of pilots, fleet expansion plans now require affirmative steps to man the new crafts when they eventually arrive in Nairobi from the manufacturers.

The move is expected to drive up wages across the industry even faster now, as airlines faced with the loss of experienced captains and first officers, but also cabin crew, technicians, and key sales, operations, and IT staff will more than likely sweeten the deals in order to retain them, or else risk having their fleet operate at reduced utilization in the absence of enough crews to operate full schedules.

With Kenya Airways expecting more aircraft and needing more crews, KQ is the only airline in the EAC with its own training academy, but the graduates from there are not enough for their future plans it seems, so they are now actively recruiting from the open market.

Meanwhile negotiations are ongoing between Kenya Airways and the Aviation and Allied Workers Union, with key stakeholders like government, the Federation of Kenya Employers, and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions of Kenya shadowing the negotiations, helping where they can to avoid strike action, keep the airline flying, and prevent potentially huge damage to the Kenyan economy in general and the tourism sector in particular.

Kenya Airways expands regional recruitment
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