Pilots of Kenya Airways, one of the largest carriers in Africa, ferrying 10,000 passengers a day, went on strike on Thursday, despite an agreement reached to defer the industrial action until June 1.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) issued a two-day notice to the carrier on Tuesday, saying its members would stop flying planes until Mbuvi Ngunze, Kenya Airways chief executive, resigned.
The pilots said Ngunze’s turnaround measures were “questionable”.
Kenya Airways had also obtained a court order on Wednesday barring the planned strike.
The airline and KALPA then issued a statement, saying the union had agreed to defer its strike.
“We have had some disruptions this morning as a result of the pilots’ strike announced on Tuesday and in spite of our agreement yesterday,” Kenya Airways said on its Twitter feed.
At midday Kenyan time when the strike was supposed to start, dozens of Kenya Airways pilots were in a meeting with James Macharia, transport minister, and Dennis Awori, chairman of the board of the carrier, a Reuters reporter covering the meeting, said.
The airline is 26.7 per cent owned by Air France-KLM, with a fleet of Boeing and Embraer jets.
Kenya Airways has been selling assets, including planes, and plans to lay off 600 people as it tries to stay in operation after three and a half years of financial losses.