KQ gets green light to turn Dreamliners into freighters


A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will convert two of its Dreamliner planes into cargo aircraft after the carrier got the go-ahead from its lessors.

KQ intends to turn two of the high capacity aircraft into freighters to supplement the existing size for cargo in the wake of diminishing demand for passemger flying.

Kenya Airways chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the airline plans to convert the two aircraft before the end of the year.

“So far, two lessors have indicated a no objection to the conversion of the B787 Dreamliner aircraft to freighters for a two year period,” said Mr Kilavuka.

“These two aircraft should be converted by the end of the year,” added the CEO in an interview with the Business Daily.

KQ had sought permission from the lessors to convert their aircraft into freighters to cover up for the low demand from passengers who seek to fly since the resumption of flights following grounding of the aircraft across the world.

Mr Kilavuka also said that they are still having discussion with our other lessors on the restructuring of their contracts.

KQ opened talks with its lessors for early return of a number of aircraft as the carrier seeks to cut on cost following adverse effects of Covid-19 on its business.

The airline says the move will have direct impact to the company as it will cut on the cost of maintaining them and paying of lease charges.

The airline has about 38 fleets at the moment with nine Dreamliner on its fleet that are mainly used for passenger services.

During the lockdown, the airline converted some of its Boeing 787 aircraft into freighters, however, they did not remove seats to accommodate more freight. The move could only see the carrier ferry close to 50 percent of goods.

KQ has two freighters at the moment but they cannot be used for long range such as connecting Africa to Europe because of the minimal distance that they can cover.