Kenya Airways names new B787 ‘The Great Rift Valley’


(Posted 06th April 2014)

(A beaming Dr. Titus Naikuni emerging from the new B787, waving the Kenyan flag)

Kenya Airways’ latest fleet addition, their first B787-8 Dreamliner, was yesterday named by President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘The Great Rift Valley’, keeping in line with the naming of their first B777-300ER last year which was named ‘Masai Mara’.

The airline, which had taken delivery of their latest bird in Seattle the day earlier before embarking on the nearly 15.000 kilometre nonstop flight to their home base in Nairobi, will in coming months receive a further 5 such planes before next year another 3 will join the fleet. The existing 4 options are due to be converted into firm orders in due course it is understood, as KQ continues to expand destinations and flight frequencies.

The new aircraft will in coming weeks make ‘guest appearances’ across much of Africa, starting with the region, before entering commercial service in June when the B787-8 will be deployed on the route to Paris, which Kenya Airways has re-introduced due to risen demand. The airline is yet to name the next destinations for this aircraft type, though it is expected to progressively take over routes from the aged B767-300 fleet which will be progressively retired over the next months as more of the B787-8’s arrive. KQ presently operates 6 B767-300, an aircraft which consumes over 20 percent more fuel compared to the new B787 Dreamliner, bringing the promise of significant savings for Kenya Airways as the fleet exchange moves towards completion.

The Kenyan national airline is the second in Africa after Ethiopian Airlines to take delivery of this plane, making it truly ‘The Pride of Africa’.

Meanwhile has Kenya Airways also signed a component service support agreement with AFI | KLM Engineering & Maintenance in Amsterdam. Dr. Titus T. Naikuni was quoted to have said on the occasion of signing the deal: ‘AFI KLM E&M had already shown its know-how in the past with respect to the maintenance of our components and engines, and has given us complete satisfaction. Logically, therefore, we chose this MRO as our fleet is expanding and gearing up to take delivery of a new aircraft type’.

The agreement includes the positioning of tools and spare parts at the Kenya Airways own maintenance division at the airline’s base in Embakasi.

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across Eastern Africa.

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