Passengers stranded as Kenyan aviation workers down tools

By Fauxile Kibet

Flights were disrupted Wednesday morning at Kenya’s largest airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after aviation workers went on strike.

The workers down their tools to express displeasure over the board of management, biases in staff recruitment and proposed take over of the airport by Kenya Airways.

Early Wednesday, several flights schedules were disrupted with some planes having to leave without passengers on board. Long queues could be seen at the airport’s gates as the striking workers had closed some of the airport’s entry points.

The Kenyan government deployed a heavy contingent of police to try and restore normalcy even as hundreds of passengers who were scheduled to leave the airport remaining stranded.

Kenya Airways took to Twitter and advised some of its customers not to go to the airport in a bid to ease the chaos.

“Further to the strike by Kawu members, we expect disruptions on flights. Customers on flights after 11 am are advised not to come to the airport until further communication is shared,” KQ tweeted.

Proposed take over

There has been mounting pressure to have cash strained Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) run JKIA – which elicited mixed reactions with some stakeholders claiming that powerful business hands were pushing to control the strategic airport.

But KQ has over the years faced management issues, which has greatly impacted on its business, which has seen it run in losses.

Questions are now being raised over who exactly wants KQ, which has been running in loses to be in charge of  Kenya’s largest aviation facility.

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