Monday, April 21, 2008

Motoring Moment

- KQ Plane overshoots runway at Entebbe. No reported injuries

- The Nairobi Star has a story about the Kenya Government not wanting to buy new limousines for ministers and the Prime Minister. Meanwhile the Uganda Government is selling 20 post CHOGM BMW jeeps – why not swop?



Speaking of which, what happened to the stretch limos that former presidents Moi and Kenyatta used to use. They disappeared totally during the first term of President Kibaki – but like with the re-discovery of Harambee House office shouldn’t they make a comeback in 2008?

- Is it a rule that lady drivers in expensive cars must wear monster sunglasses?

- The seat of power in Kenya is no longer back left; but front left next to the driver, then you can have bodyguards or aides in the back

- The latest power accessory is a chase car. Made popular by ministers, but now judiciary, military and even MP's & civic leaders use them when visiting trouble spots. Saw a military general last month, who has gone the Uganda route - his chase car was a pick-up full of soldiers with rifles

- It is scary to be a Nissan B16 owner - a car can have latest license plates (few weeks old) like KBA111E and already be missing indicator lights.

- Nice to see cars back in the DT Dobie showroom – which had empty windows in January and February. Damage to an $80,000 car is not worth the drive-past display. Besides if you want a Mercedes, you know how to get one, you don’t have to see it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

No longer back left!!! Front left is not the most secure seat, most executive cars have reinforcements engineered for the back (bullet proof, bomb resistant, etc).

A chase pickup has always sounded as something more for show of force. Having your security personel out in the open, ready for easy pickings, does not sound wise.

Anonymous said...

KQ treats its employees like objects or tools to be fully utilized and abused then discarded - instead of human beings with lives outside the office.

Of course this means they lose the best to other airlines and remain with rejects.

It is these "rejects" who are flying their planes and causing accidents.

As long as draconian labor practices and uncompetitive salaries exist in KQ, the company wil head straight back to the loss making parasite it used to be.

I left KQ a long time back. No regrets! Pilots are the sons/daughters/relatives of well connected politicians and rich people (intelligence and experience does not rate highly). They don't give you time off to study and grow, internal career growth is non-existent, appraisal is subjective and salaries are a joke for a company making bllions! etc etc.

Titus started well, but he lost track on HR issues - and now he's reaping the fruits.

Anonymous said...

I dont know much about KQ but from the few friends I have who work there, the story has always been the same. No appreciation/remuneration for long hours worked, you get forced to work even when you should be resting after a long flight. There are crew who have over 90 days pending leave and its not guaranteed that you will go and forget about getting paid.

Rumour has it that Naikuni hasnt made any money for KQ, all he did was ride of the previous CEO's profits to keep them afloat, dont know how true this is, but hey, you know about rumours.

Strange enough, this past weekend my mechanic was telling me about the Nissan B14 side lamps, that even if you car identify your lamps they still get stolen so they solution is to break the cover but leave the bulb intact. That way you'll be safe.

Nice post though.

Anonymous said...

Worked for KQ for 7 years. Here are the facts:

Regarding Profits... The previous CEO (Brian Presbury) was an incompetent moron. He was only good as an accountant - not a CEO. He was appointed CEO because he whas white (hence trusted by KLM) and had been a Finance director. Thats it. No vision, no strategy, no business acumen - just preparing financial reports for auditors - thats all he could do. At that time (2000 and something), the belief by the KQ expatriate directors was that an African could never be a CEO.

Presbury did a good job of running the company to the ground - destroying whatever gains Brian DAVIS had done - and he is the one who forced Titus to retrench people by handing him a dying company (Titus did it more humanely than Brian had planned).

When Titus came in, things were terrible for KQ. Profits were down to 300M and the next year's projection was a LOSS!

Naikuni is a great strategist and business man. The KQ TURNAROUND was REAL. I was there and I saw it happen. I bought the shares at 5.50/- coz I believed in Titus and Made a lot of money.

He only slipped in the HR part. Possibly to keep shareholders happy. That is the only reason I quit KQ - lack of appreciation for staff and overusing people.

That said, Titus is the BEST CEO KQ HAS EVER HAD. He made us proud to be African and proved wrong the racist expatriates who claimed an African could never be a successful Airline CEO (Believe me its true - thats what they said to our faces).

If it wasn't for HR policies, and greedy shareholders tying his hands at AGMs by protesting about employee costs, KQ would still be soaring high!

bankelele said...

Anon 1: If you see M7’s chase cars, you’d rethink that. I think there are very few armored cars in Nairo – though their appearances are deceptive. It’s only a couple of ambassadors’ cars that you can look at and know they are not ‘ordinary’

Anon #2, 3, 4: The KQ debate is one which I’ll revisit again since it is a developing story after the press conference yesterday.
- Is Naikuni/Presbury/Davies a better MD and has he been good for the company? Shareholders will say yes to Naikuni, some employees will say no.
- Whose strategy is being implemented does not really matters as if it’s a good one and endorse by the board & managers
- on pilot qualifications, HR & employees, long hours – I’m sure employees at 90% of organizations have similar gripes even if company is moving in the right direction

Anonymous said...

Hi Banks

Saw the topic "Motoring Moment" and thought it wouldn't hurt to leave a comment. You asked about the Moi limousines, for your information, these limousines are still very much around parked somewhere in the house on the hill. Trust me they have all these cars including the Rolls Royce used by the Governor in pre-independent Kenya. The garage that houses these limousines is a marvel to behold. My only question is: why don't they (state house) surrender these cars to the National Museum?

Ssembonge said...

Is the Chrysler C300 still there at DT Dobie. I checked it out last year and it was going for something like $77K.

One day Nairobi will be like the US. You go to the eastlands and you find all the flashy cars over there. AAs would rather drive an expensive car than live in a good house.

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