KENYA AIRWAYS SIGNS UP FOR 10 MORE EMBRAERS AND 10 MORE OPTIONS
In a breaking news story it was confirmed that East Africa’s leading airline, Kenya Airways, has just signed a 10 aircraft deal – vis a vis a letter of intent – with Brazilian manufacturer Embraer for 10 more of their jets, with an added option for a further 10 E190 or the E170 series, with specific purchases to be confirmed at a later date.
This latest acquisition plan for new aircraft will set the stage for an intense battle unfolding over the African skies between ‘The Pride of Africa’ and their nearest competitors Ethiopian and South African, the latter reportedly now also committed to finally roll out a comprehensive Africa network in coming years, a shade late though to catch KQ and ET who now have a near equal coverage of the African continent via their Nairobi and Addis Ababa hubs. Kenya Airways offers flights from Nairobi to 43 African destinations and a further 10 international destinations in Europe, the Gulf area, India and the Far East.
Kenya Airways has already announced during the recent presentation of their annual financial year results that they will by 2013 fly to every African capital city or commercial hub, and the new aircraft will help them, especially with the ‘Advanced Range’ models of Embraer, to fly to new destinations with initially less traffic density where their fleet of B737NG’s may initially be too large to yield early profits.
The 20 new jets, should the ten options be exercised as is expected, will boost KQ’s Embraer fleet to be the largest on the African continent and will come in addition to the 5 E170’s and 2 E190’s already operating under the KQ livery, with the final 3 deliveries of E190’s still due between now and early 2012. All aircraft will be outfitted in a dual class configuration of business and economy, offering this service on each and every route and offer the passengers of not just Kenya Airways but of their Sky Team alliance partners Air France / KLM the superior service levels expected by their faithful travelers.
It is understood that the new order just signed between Kenya Airways and Embraer will begin deliveries by mid 2012 to allow for the projected traffic growth on existing routes without impairing the network rollout recently confirmed.
When asked a regular source in Nairobi, while preferring anonymity, also confirmed that the airline’s ties with Boeing remained strong and that in particular more B 737 NG will in coming years join the fleet too, to have the right sized aircraft available for all the domestic, regional and continental routes where the narrow body 737’s of -700 and -800 types are deployed or to be deployed.
KQ’s CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni was reported to have said after the signing ceremony in Paris: ‘The E190 jet fits well with our expansion strategy, giving us an opportunity to expand our network and increase our frequencies beyond the current offering while cementing our mandate of connecting Africa to the World and World to Africa through our hub at JKIA’.
With this breaking news story Kenya Airways will retain their claim to leadership over the African skies and to be indeed, for Africans from all corners of the continent ‘The Pride of Africa’.