Countdown on to B787 arrival as KCAA approves the use of the new bird


(Posted 03rd January 2014)

Kenya Airways has confirmed that they received the requested type approval for the Boeing B787, the first of which is due for delivery in March this year. The airline had filed an application, as reported here at the time, with the national aviation regulatory authority to alter their existing air services license, adding the use of the B787.

From details received from Embakasi did KCAA approve and gazette their decision at the end of last year, allowing Kenya’s national airline to commence the countdown in earnest towards taking delivery of the first of 9 such planes on firm order. According to previous information given by none other than the airline’s CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni, 6 of the Dreamliners are expected to join the Kenya Airways fleet this year, allowing the progressive retirement of the aged B767-300 fleet. The source, not being the official spokesperson of Kenya Airways and hence requesting not to be named, said in the mail received: ‘The arrival of the new aircraft will give us added capacity for passengers and cargo, because the B787 is larger than the B767 it is due to replace. The new aircraft also has a much lower fuel consumption of about 20 percent compared to the older jets and this will give us cost advantages. Fuel prices have gone up again recently and therefore such operational savings are crucial for our bottom line as an airline. I can also confirm again that we are due to receive two more B777-300ER this year and have later in the year several more B737-800NG join the fleet. The Embraer deliveries for now are concluded even though under Plan Mawingo we are expecting more of this aircraft type in the future’.

Kenya Airways has in addition to the 9 firm orders at least four options in place which can be converted and a decision is expected once operational data are available from April this year onwards when the new aircraft commences commercial operations. Kenya Airways is still to confirm where the new B787’s are being deployed but after showcasing the aircraft on African routes it is anticipated that existing B767 routes will be the first to see the new bird come their way.


The above map shows the planned number of new destinations under Kenya Airways’ strategic 10 year plan which requires an increase from the present 45 aircraft to a total of 119, including dedicated cargo aircraft, all of which is however dependent on the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with a second runway and a new mega terminal boosting capacity for flight movements, aircraft parking and passenger handling. President Uhuru Kenyatta in December broke ground for what is generally known as ‘Project Greenfield’ and construction is expected to go full steam ahead early in the new year. Nairobi’s JKIA presently handles about 7 million passengers per annum, exact figures for 2013 are expected to be released in due course, and the new terminal will more than triple that capacity, allowing Nairobi to remain THE aviation hub in the region with all other airports, inspite of their expansion and modernization programmes to continue play second fiddle.

Watch this space for regular and breaking news updates from the aviation industry in Eastern Africa.

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