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Kenya Airways remodels planes for cargo business

By Peter Theuri | February 4th 2021

Kenya Airways (KQ) and Avianor, a Canadian cabin integrator specialist have finalised the repurposing of the national carrier’s aircraft cabins (Boeing 787) for cargo transportation.

The repurposed cabins have been certified to carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo.

This potentially enables the aircraft to reach its maximum payload while in cargo operation of 46 tonnes.

The repurposing started in December 2020 and was completed last month in response to the growing demand and need for increased cargo capacity.

KQ chief executive Allan Kilavuka said the partnership is a show of resilience between the two industry players.

“We are excited to be part of the certified cargo conversion of this type on the Boeing 787 aircraft.

"It demonstrates our agility, innovation and quick thinking as well as increases our cargo capability and capacity to keep essential goods moving across the globe,” Kilavuka said. 

Airworthiness approval

KQ currently has nine Dreamliners in its fleet, primarily used for passenger flights.

In 2020, Kenya Airways used some of its Boeing 787 aircraft for cargo transportation.

But aircraft seats limited the space for an increased freight capacity. KQ has received airworthiness approval from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA) and Federal Aviation Authority and will soon begin cargo flights on the repurposed Dreamliner.

“This represents a unique design and certification challenge. We are thrilled to demonstrate, once again, our ability to find unprecedented solutions to customer needs,” said Matthieu Duhaime, the president and CEO of Avianor.

Gilbert Kibe, the KCAA director general, said the project is will retain and create new jobs as well as support the airline’s recovery efforts.

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