Kenya Airways has signed an agreement with US-based General Electric to supply engines for its nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The airline has ordered 19 GEnx-1B engines from the American firm valued at $380 million (Sh31 billion). The first delivery of the GE-powered Dreamliner is expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.
KQ chief executive Titus Naikuni said the airline had settled on GE due to the fuel efficiency and noise reduction which tend to lower the maintenance costs of the Dreamliner and increase its ability to fly longer.
“It’s been a fairly intricate journey because of the investment involved,” he said during the signing ceremony. Each plane takes two engines with the 19thbeing a spare.
Rolls Royce lost out to GE. The GEnx-1B incorporates advanced technologies and material that dramatically improves fuel efficiency, performance, emissions and durability. The engine is expected to utilise 15 per cent less fuel and is 20 per cent less noisy than earlier ones.
“This will translate to savings for us, making the airline more competitive,” Mr Naikuni said.
The Dreamliner is part of the airline’s expansion plans that will see it increase its fleet from the current 34 aircraft to 68 by 2016 while increasing its destinations from 56 to 115 during the same period.
To support this expansion and fleet modernisation the airline is seeking to raise Sh20.7 billion in a rights issue, which kicked off on Monday.
Part of the money raised from the rights issue will go towards acquiring the engines for these planes.