Kenya Airways in talks to return surplus aircraft – CEO

Kenya Airways in talks to return surplus aircraft - CEO

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta ) is in talks with lessors over the early return of an unspecified number of aircraft and to convert several of its B787-8 s into makeshift freighters, chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka told Business Daily Africa.

Given the collapse in demand for intercontinental passenger travel, the CEO said the Kenyan national carrier was looking to the cargo market to help offset some of its widebody leasing costs. The return of unwanted surplus capacity will also serve to ease gross losses which, for 1H20, amounted to KES14.4 billion shillings (USD133 million).

“There are fewer destinations and fewer frequencies at the moment and we need to respond to that as these destinations will require us to fly smaller fleets,” he said. "We began by deploying about 25% of our network and we are reviewing this constantly and making necessary adjustments."

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Kenya Airways operates nine B787-8s of which six have been active of late on scheduled as well as repatriation charter flights. Of the nine, six are owned by the airline while the remaining three are leased from DAE Capital (one) and BOC Aviation (two). Of the six that are active, four are owned while the other two are BOC Aviation’s.

In terms of the carrier’s narrowbody fleet, only six of its eight B737-800 s (all of which are leased from Aviation Capital Group (three), DVB Bank Aviation Asset Management (one), GECAS (one), Goshawk (two), and Macquarie AirFinance (one)) have been active of late alongside eight of its fifteen ERJ 190-100AR s. Its two in-house B737-700 s remain grounded although its two B737-300(F) s are active given intense cargo demand.

Overall, Kivaluka said Kenya Airways was aiming to reduce its overall total fixed costs (not just staff costs) by about 50% in response to its revenue projections.

"Therefore, we are reducing our network, our assets, and our people. The reduction will not be like for like, meaning that the shrinkage will not be uniform across the three areas," he said.

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