Kenya Airways (KQ) lived up to its nameÃ¢â‚¬â€the Pride of AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â€when it showcased the carbon fibre Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner expected to be part of its fleet next year.
KQ is expected to take delivery of the nine of the Boeing 787-8 aircrafts in the fourth quarter of 2013, with a possibility of leasing four others, following the signing of a multi-million dollar purchase agreement with Boeing in April last year.
The Boeing DreamlinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to service long-haul routes is expected to enhance trade between Kenya and the Far East as well as North and South America.
“The US remains one of KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s main trading partners. Bilateral relations remain strong considering KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s role as the regional trade and investment hub,” minister for trade Chirau Mwakwere said as the Dreamliner landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as part of the six month world tour.
Chief executive officer for KQ Titus Naikuni said that the airline is looking to increase its fleet capacity and expand to new destinations and increase frequencies on lucrative routs as part of its 10-year growth strategy.
“We are looking at moving to six new destinations in India and six new destinations in China. Currently, we are doing one destination in India, that is Mumbia,” Naikuni said in an interview.
The environmentally friendly 787 Dreamliner will carry 210 to 250 passengers, and is fuel efficient using 20 percent less fuel than similarly size aircrafts.
“One of our biggest challenges has been fuel and when you get into the Dreamliner the whole issue of fuel efficiency becomes very important and we are looking at 17 to 20 percent fuel reduction costs,” said Naikuni
Kenya Airways, which flies 10 times into Lilongwe, will also fly the Dreamliner into Malawi and Zambia.
Country manager in Malawi Ruth Maweu disclosed that the Dreamliner will start flying into Lilongwe and Lusaka when the B767 that is currently servicing the route is replaced.