NAIROBI Oct 13 Kenya Airways said on
Thursday it will be forced to halt ticket sales unless its
pilots withdraw a strike threat that has prompted cancellations
by worried passengers.
The pilots' union, Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA),
has called for an indefinite strike from Tuesday to protest at
what it describes as poor management of the airline.
"The threatened action is already costing Kenya Airways
significant losses as passengers have begun to make
cancellations," the airline said in a statement.
"If KALPA does not forthwith retract its statement, Kenya
Airways will have to immediately stop selling tickets."
Kenya Airways, which carries 12,000 passengers a day in a
fleet on Boeing and Embraer planes, has been
hit in recent years by falling earnings triggered by a decline
in the number of visitors to Kenya.
Tourism has been hurt by security worries stoked by Somali
Islamist group al Shabaab's attacks in the country, in apparent
retaliation for Kenya's military deployment in Somalia.
KALPA is pressing for chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze and the
chair of the airline's board, Dennis Awori, to be fired, saying
it is not confident in their ability to drive its recovery.
Kenya Airways said KALPA's call for a strike was
unjustified, adding half-year results due to be released at the
end of October would show a surge in passenger numbers and a
reduction in losses.
A strike, it said, could cause it to lose the support of
financiers and suppliers that it is in negotiations with.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
and Alexander Smith)