KQ awaits US agency nod for Dreamliner to ferry cargo


A KQ Dreamliner aircraft. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways is waiting for clearance from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after it completed the conversion of one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner into a cargo aircraft.

The completion, which was done a couple of weeks ago, now awaits a greenlight from the US regulator to see whether they will be allowed to fly the cargo on aircraft or not.

According to the airline, two officials from FAA are expected in the country to conduct the exercise while the rest will follow via video link in the US.

“We are done with conversion of the Dreamliner into cargo aircraft and we are waiting for assessment from the FAA,” said an official from KQ.

Kenya Airways had opened talks with its leasers for early return of a number of aircraft and convert some of the high capacity planes to freighters as the carrier seeks to cut on cost following adverse effects of Covid-19.

KQ had earlier opened negotiations with leasers to have it allowed to remove seats in some of the Dreamliner aircraft and convert them into freighters.

The airline said the move will help it to use its Boeing 787 aircraft for long haul cargo services between Africa and other continents and also carry high volumes.

Kenya Airways resumed international flights in August heading to about 30 destinations for the first time since the routes were suspended in March due to the coronavirus, this is down from 56 cities where it flew before the outbreak of the pandemic.

KQ said the Covid-19 has affected demand for flying worldwide hence need to scale down on the number of flights operated in given routes. The carrier said it is currently operating at 37 percent on its international route.