5Y-KQC TO LEAVE SERVICE TO BECOME KENYA AIRWAYS’ FIRST B737 FREIGHTER
Kenya Airways has confirmed that the airline will convert their older B737-300 models presently in passenger service into freighter aircraft, starting with 5Y-KQC being withdrawn within the next few days and then flown to China, where the conversion into a cargo plane, side door and all, will be carried out at Boeing Shanghai Aircraft Services.
The conversion is expected to be completed by February 2013, at which stage the second B737-300 will be leaving passenger service flights. According to information just received from KQ, up to four B737-300’s will be converted, ending the search for purchasing such aircraft, which has in past months not yielded the anticipated results and is arguably being considerably cheaper than adding extra B737-300’s to the fleet, which were anyway due for replacement with the more modern B737-800 NG’s starting from next year.
Kenya Airways, according to information available, currently operates 6 B737-300 but has been boosting their 38 aircraft fleet with additional deliveries of Embraer E190, which are increasingly becoming the regional workhorse aircraft serving Entebbe and other EAC destinations like Bujumbura and Kigali. Deliveries of new E 190’s are due to continue under a present purchase order until about April next year before it is anticipated that a new batch of B737NG’s will be added to the fleet.
Kenya Airways Cargo has been operating a wet leased B747-400 for flights from Nairobi to Amsterdam to Guangzhou and back to Nairobi but requires smaller aircraft capable of carrying palletized cargo to feed and de-feed from these flights to destinations where the airline’s wide body aircraft are not flying to. Destinations for the new cargo flights will be all regional destinations as well as West African destinations NOT served by B767 or B777 wide bodied aircraft.
Watch this space for breaking and regular news from East Africa’s vibrant aviation scene.