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Kenya Airways Launch Freighter Service

Freighter will enhance airline’s revenue and cargo uplift on key Afro-Asian routes

Nairobi, February 21, 2012….Kenya Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have jointly launched the first direct freighter service between mainland China and Africa. This also marks Kenya Airways entry into Freighter service with a dedicated Boeing 747F. 

The Boeing 747-400F cargo freighter, unveiled in Nairobi on Tuesday, is expected to significantly boost the airline’s capacity to airlift cargo between its growing Asian and African markets while realizing higher earnings from cargo as a distinct revenue source. 

Kenya Airways through its cargo arm, KQ Cargo, has entered into a joint venture with KLM Cargo to operate the freighter which is owned by Martinair, a subsidiary of the Air France KLM Group. The service connects China’s key industrial zone in Guangdong with the Kenya capital Nairobi thus offering access to all key African markets through KQ passenger service. 

The freighter dubbed ‘Safari Connection’ denotes its trans-continental (Africa-Asia-Europe) operations and the partnership between Kenya Airways and KLM; it bears the slogan “Hunting for Business” in Chinese Mandarin.

The cargo freighter has a capacity to carry 120 tonnes which is over five times the belly capacity of the Boeing 777, the largest aircraft in the airline’s fleet. 

The wide-body cargo freighter will operate the Amsterdam-Guangzhou-Nairobi-Lagos-Nairobi-Amsterdam circuit. The aircraft will make stopovers in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates on its way from Guangzhou to Nairobi. 

Kenya Airways plans to introduce twelve freighters into its growing fleet over the ten years, some wholly owned and others leased. This will improve the airline’s overall cargo carrying capability and reduce over-dependence on the passenger fleet whose belly capacity is limited. 

The airline carried over 56,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2010/11 and this is expected to grow following the launch of the freighter line.