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Pilot strike spurs Kenya airways to cancel 75% flights Monday

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Kenya Airways canceled about 75% of scheduled flights Monday as a pilots strike enters its third day, disrupting travel plans for thousands of passengers and hurting intra-Africa trade.

The carrier scrapped 52 flights, according to a statement. The company has had to accommodate 500 passengers in hotels in Nairobi, Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said late Sunday.

A prolonged strike may also hit Kenya’s exports. Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest airline transports 150 tons of fresh produce on average — including flowers, which are among Kenya’s top exports — to Europe and the Middle East. It also ships 20 tons of vital pharmaceutical products into East Africa’s top economy.

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association issued a 14-day strike notice on October 19. The group is pursuing better working conditions, including lifting a suspension of payments to the staff provident fund. Kenya Airways, which is 48.9% state-owned, normally transports more than 250 000 passengers a month and an average of 60 to 70 flights daily.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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