National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has lost a second senior pilot to coronavirus.
Captain Salah Salim Jeizan, 57, died at a London hospital on Wednesday, the airline’s chief human resources officer Evelyne Munyoki said in a condolence message.
The captain flew London (Heathrow Airport) on November 7 from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. He developed difficulties in breathing while in a London hotel.
He was rushed to a local hospital where he was admitted. He has been on and off oxygen, according to sources familiar with his last days of treatment.
“We have informed our staff about the passing away of our colleague. May he RIP. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” communications director Dennis Kashero said
Jeizan was born on October 31, 1963. He joined Flamingo, a subsidiary of KQ, on May 1, 2000. He switched to the national carrier on November 21, 2001 and worked there till his death.
The airline management said Jeizan rose through the ranks, flying various fleets until his last position as a senior captain on the Boeing 787 fleet. The company has eulogised him as a dedicated staffer.
“On behalf of the board of directors, the management and staff of Kenya Airways, we join the family of the late captain Jeizan in mourning their beloved one and pray that the almighty God will strengthen them during this time of sorrow,” KQ said.
Kenya Airline Pilots Association, of which he was a member, had yet to give a statement on Wednesday evening.
General secretary and CEO captain Murithi Nyagah said the association was waiting for consent from the family.
Jeizan served mainly the European, US and Middle East destinations.
He is the second senior captain at KQ to die of Covid-19 after captain Daudi Kibati who passed on in April.
Kibati fell ill on March 29. He died on April 1, a week after performing his last international assignment for Kenya Airways.
He had been in command of a flight from New York to Nairobi, an evacuation trip for Kenyan citizens who had been stranded in the US when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
The latest development points to the vulnerability of front-line workers in the aviation industry.
Several pilots, cabin crew, ground service personnel and flight attendants, have tested positive since the virus hit the country in March.
With international and domestic travel having resumed, they remain among the most exposed to the virus, which has affected more than 84,169 people in Kenya, with the country’s fatalities at more than 1,474.
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