DREAM CONNECTIONS Kenya Airways will use Dreamliner to help connect Africa to the world, and the world to Africa By Daniel Mosely and photo by Paul Gordon Frontiers May 2014 31 CUSTOMER PROFILE Last month, hundreds of Kenya Airways employees welcomed the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner at its home base of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. The 787, the first of nine planned for the carrier’s fleet, arrived from Everett, Wash., after a nonstop delivery flight of 7,800 nautical miles (9,000 miles, or 14,500 kilometers). And no one was more excited by the 787’s arrival than Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni. The airline, known as the “Pride of Africa,” is on a mission, according to Naikuni: “Connecting Africa to the world, and the world to Africa.” And the 787 is going to help Kenya Airways do just that, he said, by opening new route possibilities for direct service to Europe and Asia. “The delivery of this airplane opens a new chapter at a very exciting time for our airline,” Naikuni said, explaining that the fuel-efficient 787 also will improve the airline’s economic performance. Kenya Airways was founded in 1977 with two leased Boeing 707s and has grown to become one of the leading airlines on the African continent. It currently operates an all-Boeing longhaul fleet of six 767-300ERs (Extended Range), four 777-200ERs and one 777-300ER, with the 787 as its newest addition. On short-haul, inter-African routes, the airline operates a mix of 15 Classic and Next-Generation 737s. The carrier has adopted a 10-year strategic plan called Project Mawingu to increase its fleet from 44 airplanes to 107 by 2021, and expand destinations from 62 to 115. As part of that plan, the airline took delivery of its first 777-300ER less than six months ago. During 2014, Kenya Airways will add two 777-300ERs and five 787s as it moves forward on its path of ambitious growth. The stream of Boeing deliveries is set to continue in the years ahead, Naikuni said. Adding the 787 to the airline’s fleet will open up direct, long-haul routes to major cities in Europe and Beijing, he explained, as Kenya Airways explores new markets that will help it achieve its strategic objective and contribute toward the sustainable development of Africa. “The introduction of direct flights with the 787 to destinations like Paris and Amsterdam will boost key sectors of Kenya’s economy such as tourism and horticulture, while the 777-300ER is a perfect fit for our network expansion plans,” Naikuni said. “It will enable us to serve our existing markets much more effectively and facilitate the opening of new long-haul routes in the near future.” n email@example.com PHOTO: The first of nine 787 Dreamliners set to join the Kenya Airways fleet is shown at the Everett (Wash.) Delivery Center prior to departing for a celebratory homecoming in Nairobi.
Frontiers May 2014 Issue
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