BRITISH AIRWAYS RAINS ON KENYA AIRWAYSS PARADE
As Kenya Airways is putting final touches on the preparations for todays annual general meeting, where shareholders are expected to sign off on plans for a new shares issue as proposed by the Board of Directors, and only days after the airline announced the acquisition on a long term lease of two more B777-300ER, has British Airways sneaked in a nasty on them, according to industry observers timed to rain on KQs parade. Some weeks ago it was announced here and widely broadcast that Kenya Airways had acquired a B747-400F to commence cargo operations, supplemented by as many as three B737F planes used to feed and de-feed cargo from the wider region. British Airways has now announced in Nairobi that they too would introduce a B747F which was due to fly from London via Nairobi to Johannesburg and back and commencing services ahead of the planned launch by Kenya Airways.
This is a sneaky move said a regular commentator from Nairobis aviation fraternity before adding and the announcement well timed to coincide with KQs AGM and acquisition announcement. This is not a coincidence but was meant to rain on Kenya Airways parade.
Rivalries between the BA led One World alliance and SkyTeam, to which Kenya Airways and major shareholder KLM / Air France belong, are thought to be responsible for this latest competitive push by British Airways on not only the East African but the broader African market, where One World is ranking a distant third behind market leaders Star Alliance and Sky Team in terms of volume share.
They had to come up with something but this is not a problem for us. JKIA is the biggest air cargo market in Africa now and it is our home base. We work hand in hand with our partner KLM / Air France in shipping cargo from Nairobi to Europe already on our daily wide body flights and when our freighter comes on line we will absorb demand already in place. I am not speculating on the timing of the announcement by British Airways, they do their thing and we do ours said a source close to the action from Nairobi, showing confidence that KQs strategy would be a winning one and that there would be no rain on the parade.
Watch this space for aviation updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region, fresh off the press.