KQ bets on re-purposed Dreamliners
Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
The first Kenya Airways fully re-purposed freighter flew to London yesterday with its cargo of cut flowers in time to beat the Sunday Valentine Day delivery deadline.
KQ, as the national carrier is known by its code name, repurposed the first of two Boeing 787 dreamliner, as it seeks to diversify its revenue stream by tapping into the cargo sector.
KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said new freighter received regulatory approvals from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) after successful trial flights last week.
“This is another avenue for us to generate revenues for Kenya Airways to make the airline more sustainable,” Kilavuka said.
Last year, the airline signaled its intention to grow its cargo operations from 10 per cent to 20 per cent over a 5-year period, to make up for reduced passenger travel.
During the forum, Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina urged traders to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFCTA) leveraging KQ’s increased cargo capacity.
“With the start of trading under AfCFTA, we should also take advantage of the African market because it absorbs most of Kenya’s processed exports,” said Maina.
She said the expanding population in Africa provides Kenya with an opportunity to help the continent meet its imports, with KQ better positioned to support this market.
“The government will continue to support traders by seeking other markets such as Russia, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East for its horticultural products. It is an opportunity for us to expand exports from Kenya into these markets,” said Maina.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told exporters and importers to seize the opportunity presented to maximise trade for the growth of Kenya’s economy.
“The repurposing of the B787 is a clear indication that there is demand for air cargo and this is an opportunity for local manufacturers to ramp up production and take advantage of increased capacity being offered by our national carrier,” Macharia said, adding that government will help reduce cost of logistics in the continent.