Companies

Kenya Airways sets sights on operating commercial drones

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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • KQ chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the carrier has for long been relying on passengers as the main source of revenue but it is now looking at new areas of investment with an eye on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
  • Currently, passenger contributes over 85 percent of the airline’s revenue with cargo accounting for about 10 percent.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ plans to venture into drone business as it seeks to reduce reliance on passenger travel.

KQ chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the carrier has for long been relying on passengers as the main source of revenue but it is now looking at new areas of investment with an eye on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Currently, passenger contributes over 85 percent of the airline’s revenue with cargo accounting for about 10 percent.

“We are working hard to see how we can commercialise that operations (drones) using partners that will support us in that process,” said Mr Kilavuka in an interview in a local television.

He said the company has the skills to initiate the project but pointed out that the money to start it is what could be lacking.

The announcement comes at a time when Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is at the tail end of legalising drones in the country, after the Bill that seeks to introduce them in Kenya was successfully passed by MPs in May this year after the previous one was rejected.

KCAA says they have started receiving application from those who want permits and registration of the drones.

KCAA director general Gilbert Kibe told the Business Daily that they are inviting applicants basing on the category that they have applied for.

“We are now at the final stages and we have called for applicants to apply for permits basing on the categories,” said Mr Kibe.

He said some of the categories that people have applied for include recreation, filming, media and photography among other categories.