Nairobi, Wednesday, December 14, 2011…..National carrier Kenya Airways today welcomed the ultra-modern Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to Nairobi as part of the world tour.
Kenya Airways have placed a firm order of nine aircrafts with an option of taking four more as part of its fleet modernization and route expansion strategy.
The plane, which is currently on a tour of the world, touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 1045 hours from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where it had made a similar stopover.
Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere led Kenya Airways management, staff and invited guests in welcoming the aircraft, the latest in Boeing range of commercial aircraft, at the airport. The aircraft is on a six-month world tour to highlight the many advanced features of the airplane.
Kenya Airways plans to acquire more 787 Dreamliners is as a result of what it predicts will be momentous growth in passenger and cargo demand and a rapidly expanding route network in the coming years.
The 787-8 Dreamliner, with a capacity to carry 210-250 passengers, will be used to replace the ageing 767 aircraft as well as open up new long range routes.
With growing trade between Africa and the Far East, Asia and the Middle East, the Dreamliner will be a central cog in Kenya Airways’ ambitious expansion strategy targeting the Afro-Asian trade corridor.
Kenya Airways CEO Dr Titus Naikuni said that the acquisition of the Dreamliner aircraft will help propel the airline in its quest to become the airline of choice connecting Africa to the rest of the world.
“The 787 Dreamliner fits well with our expansion strategy, giving us an opportunity to expand our markets beyond the current offering while cementing our mandate of connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa through our hub at JKIA,” said Dr. Naikuni.
Trade minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said that KQ’s decision to acquire the Dreamliner aircraft would enhance trade between Kenya and countries in Asia, North and South America.
“This is an investment that will not only enhance Kenya Airways’ revenue generating capacity but also facilitate increased trade-related travel and tourism to and fro Kenya,” the minister said.
“We are excited to showcase this game-changing airplane with Kenya Airways and their invited guests,” said Van Rex Gallard, vice president, Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Kenya Airways puts their faith in Boeing products day-in-and-day-out as they carry more than 70,000 passengers around the world every week. They do this mostly with Boeing airplanes, which is a testament to the strong partnership we share today and will carry well into the future.”
Kenya Airways signed a purchase agreement in 2006 for nine Boeing 787 aircraft with an option to purchase 4 additional aircraft. However, there has been delay in delivering the aircraft.
In April this year, KQ and Boeing signed a settlement agreement on the delayed delivery of the aircraft. The airline also re-affirmed its intention to exercise the option of purchasing four more 787-8 after the initial delivery of the nine aircraft. The airline expects to take delivery of the first Dreamliner aircraft in the last quarter of 2013.
The 787 is a family of airplanes carrying between 210 to 290 passengers on routes between 7,650 and 8,500 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,750 kilometers). The Dreamliners will use significantly less fuel than today’s airplanes of comparable size and will provide operators with up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity. All Nippon Airlines of Japan was the launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner.
To finance the acquisition, KQ is planning a rights issue early next year. Shareholders have already approved the rights issue plan. The airline expects to raise Ksh22 billion through the issue.