September 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 5 
Commercial Airplanes

Broadening horizons

Broadening horizons

Boeing teams with Kenya Airways to open young minds


When Asaph, a Kenyan boy, and his friends shield their eyes and look up to see a white contrail high in the blue Serengeti sky, they nod knowingly as he quietly says, "Boeing."

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Boeing is the word that defines the jetliner fleet of Kenya Airways, which operates airplanes from the Boeing 737, 767 and 777 families. The two companies have forged a unique relationship that exemplifies the ways Commercial Airplanes pursues corporate citizenship and close cooperation with its customers.

The delivery of Kenya Airways' third 777-200ER in June supported the continuation of a cultural exchange program between the two companies. Young people from Kenyan schools visited the Puget Sound region of Washington state for two days of Boeing factory tours and class time spent with Seattle-area students. The Kenyan students returned to their schools to find newly donated computers made possible by a grant from Boeing.

"While our primary business is meeting customers' needs and selling airplanes, it's rewarding to see how people within Boeing commit themselves to put in the extra effort that makes programs such as this work," said Lee Monson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Sales for the Middle East and Africa.

The Seattle visit is only one part of the exchange program initiated in 2004 by Regional Sales Director Mike Smith and Kenya Airways' CEO Titus Naikuni (see the July 2004 Boeing Frontiers.

"Boeing and Kenya Airways jointly made a conscious decision to invest in the long-term development of five Kenyan schools and to find new ways we can contribute to furthering students' education," Smith said. Another group of Kenyan students is already scheduled to visit Seattle in 2006.

"It is important for our young people in Kenya to broaden their horizons and seek out their potential," Naikuni said. "We are pleased to be working with Boeing to contribute to the advancement of young people and also to generate interest in the aviation sector."

This latest delivery also showcased the efforts of Boeing's International Relations office in Johannesburg, South Africa, which coordinated the donation of the computers to schools in Kenya. The first seven of some 35 planned computer installations were made at Kayole Secondary School on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Philip de St. Aubin, Boeing vice president of International Relations Africa, said he sees value in finding ways for the company to bolster education in the countries where Boeing conducts business. "The grant is a good example of how we support the business units, while at the same time helping us to achieve one of our goals, which is to foster a global environment that ensures Boeing is at the forefront of promoting education," he said.

While Boeing provided the funding for the computers, Kenya Airways participates by providing direct technical support and training. Schools in Kenya are often poorly equipped, so the new technology doesn't go unnoticed and is appreciated by both students and staff.

Damaris Nyawira, one of the four Kenyan students to visit Seattle, was exuberant over her trip and the computers now being used daily at her school.

"I am very thankful to Kenya Airways and Boeing for giving me the chance to go to America," she said. "I saw a lot on that trip and now the computers will be a reminder and a tool for my hopes to become a journalist."

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