Subject to timely delivery of new aircraft, one new Embraer 190 was received in May already and from July onwards a further 9 such birds on order are due to be delivered in monthly intervals, the Pride of Africa is set to open up several more routes this financial year, it was learned over the weekend while in Kenya.
While as usual tightlipped over their plans, so to avoid tipping the competition off too early and allow them to react, it is on the drawing board through information availed to this correspondent during the press conference in March announcing the share rights issue and the subsequent launch of it, that the airline intends to increase regional frequencies and add code shared flights to Kilimanjaro where presently only partner Precision Air is flying under the KQ / PW banner. There is also talk of an early return to Cape Town where flights were halted when the global economic crisis struck in 2008, a sign of sustained growth of inter Africa traffic between the leading economy in the East African Community and the leading economy in SADC.
After the launch of Delhi last week the airline is also keen to expand their international network, which however will be a challenge, considering it requires additional wide bodied aircraft, which will only start coming on line from 2014 onwards, unless the carrier would opt for shorter term leased aircraft to fill the gap and expand more rapidly into the Indian and Chinese market where solid growth rates are being achieved.
Said a regular Nairobi based aviation source in a phone conversation yesterday: The race for markets is on now and KQ depends like few others on getting more aircraft on line to meet demand for more flights in the region and in Africa. That is where they make a lot of revenues and if they cannot meet rising demand they might lose out to other competitors. The deliveries of the Embraer 190 jets is important because that aircraft can fly medium distances even in Africa to destinations where a larger B737 for instance may be too big and still it is offering business and economy class and is very comfortable.
Watch this space for regular updates on Kenyas aviation sector and from the wider Eastern African region.