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KQ targets Dreamliner planes as cargo carriers

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Kenya Airways aircrafts at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The move is aimed at cutting costs amid a drop in passenger numbers in the wake of Covid-19.
  • The company’s chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the negotiations to have KQ allowed to remove seats in some of the Dreamliner aircraft and convert them into freighters or cargo planes have already begun.
  • Mr Kilavuka said the move will help the carrier to use its Boeing 787 aircraft for long haul cargo services between Africa and other continents.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ has opened talks with leasing firms for early return of a number of aircraft with the intention of converting some of the high capacity planes to freighters.

The move is aimed at cutting costs amid a drop in passenger numbers in the wake of Covid-19.

The company’s chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said the negotiations to have KQ allowed to remove seats in some of the Dreamliner aircraft and convert them into freighters or cargo planes have already begun.

Mr Kilavuka said the move will help the carrier to use its Boeing 787 aircraft for long haul cargo services between Africa and other continents.

“We are currently in negotiations with leasers so that we can return some of their aircraft early and in some cases to convert some into cargo aircraft by removing seats,” said Mr Kilavuka last week during investor briefing.

Mr Kilavuka said the move will have direct impact to the airline as it will cut the cost of maintaining them and paying of lease charges.

He said the carrier is at the moment flying to fewer destination and it needs a leaner fleet.

“There are fewer destinations and fewer frequencies at the moment and we need to respond to that as these destinations will require us to fly smaller fleets,” he said.

Kenya Airways resumed international flights early last month 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 the need to scale down on the number of flights operated in given routes. The airline says on average its filling 37 per cent of the carrier’s seat capacity.