KQ to lease two aircraft in cargo unit expansion

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya Airways (KQ) will lease two freighters in the third quarter ending September as the airline seeks to expand its cargo capacity and generate more revenue from the freight business amid heightened competition for passengers from other carriers.

The airline plans to acquire two B737-800F, which have a longer range that will allow the carrier to fly to further destinations such as Europe and the middle-east as well as ramp up the volumes that they carry.

Chief executive Allan Kilavuka said KQ would lease the two aircraft in quarter three as the carrier seeks to tap into the growing demand for cargo business.

“We shall lease the aircraft in quarter three,” he said without giving details on the cost of leasing.

The two aircraft will be an addition to the current fleet of B737-300F, which have a lower cargo capacity and cannot operate long-range flights. The airline operates two B737-300F currently.

At the height of the coronavirus in 2020, KQ converted two of its B787 into cargo airlines following high demand for freight services amid a sharp decline in passenger services after nearly all countries in the world grounded passenger movement.

The conversion saw KQ’s cargo volume go up by 29 percent 63,726 tonnes in the year ended December 2021, compared to a similar period in 2020, mainly on the introduction of more freight capacity by the carrier.

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