Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will pilot electric vehicles that take off and land vertically to beat traffic from 2025 as part of the airline’s diversification through its new subsidiary Fahari Aviation.
The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is a new technology that uses electricity to hover, take off, and land vertically, making it easier to move within cities while avoiding traffic jams.
The airline’s CEO Allan Kilavuka said testing will start in 2025 as part of the strategy to adopt new technologies as a growth strategy.
The national carrier launched the Fahari subsidiary, targeting new forms of revenues through training course for those interested in operating drones for surveillance and agricultural support.
“We are working on a future, 2025 onwards to see how we can support urban mobility,” Mr Kilavuka said.
The electric aircraft is emerging as the solution to navigating busy urban area transportation and has attracted global airlines in the race to secure new revenue streams.
Many aircraft concepts are being mobilised for urban taxi services, parcels delivery, medical assistance and recreation with minimal military use.
Vertical Aerospace announced pre-orders for 1,000 aircraft in June 2021, including from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and planes lessor, Avalon Holdings.
The Embraer spinoff Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions has signed contracts with 17 companies for 1,735 orders of its aircraft, valued at $5 billion (Sh568 billion) as of January 2022.
Eve has also signed a deal with Kenya Airways to develop operational models for urban air mobility through Fahari Aviation.
Under the agreement, Eve will work with Fahari to establish its mobility network and the required urban air traffic management procedures and operating environment.
Meanwhile, Fahari will support Eve’s aircraft and product development process, which will help guide the integration of Kenya Airways’ overall operations.