Kenya Airways reveals huge expansion plans

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Published: May 31, 2012

Computer rendering of 787 in Kenya Airways livery. Courtesy, Boeing

Kenya Airways (KQ) has detailed plans for a major expansion of its operations, which callsfor launching services to North and South America, plus Australia, by 2017.

Despite this expansion into new continents, the carrier said the main thrust of its efforts will be to broaden its route map to Asia.

In China, KQ currently flies only to Guangzhou; by 2021, it plans to add Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xiamen, Kunming and Urumqi. It also plans launch six new routes into India plus three elsewhere in Asia.

KQ is also planning growth in its existing European and Middle Eastern markets.

SkyTeam member KQ said the next decade will see its route network rise from its current 56 destinations (45 in Africa) to 115. Its passenger fleet will more than triple to 107 aircraft—almost half of them widebodies.

By 2021, KQ said the Boeing 787 will be its workhorse, with 32 forecast for its fleet (ATW Daily News, April 3). KQ has nine 787s on firm order, plus four options. The carrier will operate the 777 on high-density routes, such as Nairobi to London or Amsterdam.

It plans also to operate 29 737 NextGens, plus 31 Embraer E-190s, which will be used on thinner African routes that other carriers have either served with low frequencies or not at all.

Figures released by KQ and the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) reveal the airline’s plans will require some $ 3.7 billion of financing over the next five years, through a combination of cash flow, debt and capital market funding.

KQ also aims to develop a fleet of freighters. Earlier this year KQ and KLM jointly launched a 2X-weekly 747-400F Amsterdam (AMS)-Guangzhou (CAN)-Sharjah-Nairobi (NBO)-Lagos-NBO-AMS freighter service. The new service marked KQ’s entry into the dedicated freighter segment (ATW Daily News, Feb. 24).

KQ will take on a second 747 freighter in FY2012-13 and is planning for seven 777-200LR freighters by FY2020-21. It also anticipates having five 737-400s freighters by that date.

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