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Kenya Airways eyes more routes with third Dreamliner

By Jackson Okoth | August 5th 2014
KQ incoming Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze (right), cuts the ribbon to welcome the airline’s second Boeing 787 Dreamliner recently. He is assisted by Captain Paul Mwangi, Director Flight Operations and Captain John Mathias Kimani who flew the new aircraft. [PHOTO: FILE]

Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Airways (KQ) has received a third Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft - catapulting the national carrier to pole position on the continent. The aircraft landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last Sunday, flown by Captain John Mathias Kimani, who is also the Boeing 787 fleet manager.

Chief Executive Titus Naikuni said the delivery of the third Boeing 787 seals KQ’s position in the African skies as the airline with the largest network on the continent, and the youngest and most modern fleet. “The Dreamliner is our flagship aircraft. We are investing in this model as part of our fleet renewal programme, not only because of its advanced features but also the boost it gives to our long haul capability,” noted Naikuni.

Naikuni, who has run the company since 2003, said new routes would be opened this year using a newly acquired fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes. “We are also looking into going to Beijing this year,” Naikuni said.

The airline expects to take delivery of three more Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts by the end of the year. The first two Dreamliners named ‘Great Rift Valley’ and ‘Zambezi River’ - have already been deployed to commercial service, flying to Paris and Johannesburg respectively.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a new aircraft that consumes less fuel - up to 20 per cent less. It also features the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies.

Higher yields

The B787 also offers passengers on-board comfort with greatly reduced noise, higher ceilings, lower cabin pressure among other goodies.

In the last financial year, KQ’s total revenue had increased to Sh106 billion, mainly due to higher yields from the passenger business. Direct operating costs fell by two per cent driven mainly by savings of Sh1.5 billion from favourable oil prices and efficient consumption. The airline, has also benefited from a realised gain of Sh972 million from its fuel-hedging positions.

The airline’s board has already picked on the Chief Operating Officer Mbuvi Ngunze as Naikuni’s successor, starting December 1, this year. Kenya Airways is ranked among the largest carriers in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

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