Plans by Jambojet — Kenya Airways’ budget airline — to introduce new routes through hired aircraft may be thrown into disarray after the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (Kalpa) challenged the move.
It claimed its members risk being rendered redundant due to a wet lease agreement entered into between Jambojet and DAC Aviation EA Ltd, where the former will hire one of the latter’s planes together with crew members, contrary to provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Kalpa and Kenya Airways.
A wet lease refers to an arrangement where an airline hires a plane with personnel to run it.
Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Helen Wasilwa on Monday certified the application urgent and granted temporary orders stopping Kenya Airways and Jambojet from flying DAC Aviation’s aircraft on the contested local routes, pending the hearing of the application on Thursday.
Under the deal, which started on March 28 this year, the aircraft hired by Jambojet will fly to Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a move which was widely seen by experts as a boost to the hard-hit tourism sector in the coastal region.
RECOGNISE AS TRADE UNION
The pilots, through lawyer Samuel Mohochi, argued that Kenya Airways and its subsidiary recognise Kalpa as a trade union in line with the Labour Relations Act and as such, any desire or intention to enter into a wet lease deal entails consultations and concurrence, which has been disregarded in the current case.
“Kenya Airways, in flagrant disregard of an ongoing conciliation before the Labour Commissioner on the subject matter, has unilaterally, together with Jambojet, initiated new flight routes that would be serviced by wet-leased flights to the disadvantage of Kalpa members,” said Mr Mohochi.