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KQ pegs expansion dreams on new Boeing 787

BUSINESS
By By Macharia Kamau | March 27th 2014

By Macharia Kamau

Kenya Airways expects to open new routes and strengthen current ones with the expected delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The national carrier expects to receive the first of the long overdue plane, also known as the Dreamliner, on April 4. It will fly the Nairobi-Paris route beginning in July.

The national airline will receive five more Dreamliners in the course of the year and three others next year. The delivery of the 787 comes after a four-year delay.In addition to the Dreamliners, the airline also expects arrival of eight new Boeing  777s to replace the ageing 767s and increase frequency of flights on existing routes.

China route

Mr Titus Naikuni (pictured), Kenya Airways chief executive officer, said the airline will use the new planes to increse its China network.

He said there are plans for daily flights to Guangzhou and the airline will also introduce direct flights from Nairobi to Beijing and Shanghai.

He is confident that there will be no more delays in the delivery of the aircraft. Kenya Airways will get six Dreamliners in the course of the year, one in April, a second in June and one every month between August and November.

The remaining three planes will be delivered next year, one each month in April, June and July.

Kenya Airways currently has 45 planes in its fleet, with most of the planes aging, hence pushing up the airline’s maintenance costs and limiting route expansion.

It has a ten-year expansion plan it began implementing in 2012. Under the Mawingu Project, the airline plans to grow its fleet to 107 aircrafts by 2022, and increase its destinations from the current 56 to 115, including flying to every African capital.

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