How KQ Pilots Strike Left Amber Ray Stranded Abroad

The couple had flown to the popular island nation for their vacation to mark her birthday as she turned a year older on Friday, November 4.

How KQ Pilots Strike Left Amber Ray Stranded Abroad
A collage of Amber Ray and a tail of a Kenya Airways plane. /VIRALTEAKE

Socialite and beauty entrepreneur Faith Makau, alias Amber Ray was on Sunday, November 6 stuck in Mauritius alongside her husband, Kennedy Rapudo.

The couple had flown to the popular island nation for their vacation to mark her birthday as she turned a year older on Friday, November 4.

However, their return to Kenya faced hurdles as the couple found themselves among over 10,000 passengers affected by the strike of pilots attached to national carrier Kenya Airways, which began the following morning.

Amber Ray and Kennedy Rapudo inside a Kenya Airways flight on November 4, 2022. /AMBER RAY.INSTAGRAM

The strike action led to thousands of local and international flights being cancelled after the airline's aircraft were grounded as a directive during the strike started by the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA).

Taking to Instagram, Amber lamented that the couple could not get through to the airline for confirmation of their flight on Monday, November 7. They later got wind of the crisis through social media, forcing them to take additional steps.

"I know Kenya Airways to be my pride and joy. Today however we were left stranded as we could not reach them for our flight confirmation which is due tomorrow.

"We later heard there is a strike via social media, and since we could still not reach them. We figured we should organise ourselves at least we don't pile up stress at home as I believe many others are already doing," she wrote in part.

Amber and Rapudo decided to book another flight through Dubai, which allowed them a two-day layover so that they could recover from the partying they had in Mauritius.

The airline later contacted them to offer a refund of Ksh15,000, which set off her wrath as they had paid almost Ksh340,000 for the ticket to Mauritius.

"However, KQ wants to refund us Ksh15,000, from a ticket worth Ksh340,000 surely. We don’t need a refund, but retain your honour and give us a voucher as we have future flights with you.

"It is not fair to keep your people stranded with no communication and also punish us for making other plans when the issues are from your end. Kenya Airways, get me some assistance please as it is unlike you and can be corrected," she reprimanded the airline.

The strike is now on its third day, and KQ moved to resume flights within Africa and one flight to London. It has also opened job applications for pilots, a move which could trigger a mass firing targeting those who have downed their tools.

According to the airline, there are 18 flights today alone. Nine of the flights depart from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Harare, Johannesburg, and London.

388 pilots downed their tools after talks mediated by Transport and Labour Cabinet Secretaries, Kipchumba Murkomen and Florence Bore last Friday failed to yield any results. On Sunday, 33 pilots didn’t report to work.

KQ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Allan Kilavuka had given striking pilots until 11.30 am on Sunday, November 6, a period of 24 hours, to return to work or they lose their jobs.

The strike also forced Kenya Railways to increase the number of coaches plying the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) route to Mombasa to meet the sudden increase of passenger demands to and from the Coast region amidst the strike.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen addressing the media on November 5, 2022. /THE STAR