KQ partners beef up fleet as national carrier struggles

KQ partners beef up fleet as national carrier struggles

•KQ is also facing stiff competition from neighbouring Ethiopian Airlines, the largest carrier in Africa with nearly 130 aircraft in its fleet.

•Rwanda’s RwandAir is also eyeing a pie of the regional and international routes, buoyed by investment from Middle Eastern giant Qatar Airways. Kenya Airways planes at JKIA. Longtime Kenya Airways’ partner–Air France-KLM Group has made one of the biggest aircraft orders in the aviation industry, at a time when its relations with the struggling carrier remains frosty.

This is in the wake of a spirited push to nationalise the loss-making carrier which will see KLM, which once had a stake of over 26 per cent, bought out of its current 7.8 per cent stake.

KQ, as it is known by its international code, entered a partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) in 1995.

In March 2018, Air France (AF) joined to “consolidate the Air France-KLM group’s capacity in East Africa.”

The agreement gave customers an improved ability to connect from Europe to 26 different destinations in Africa.

However, this is likely to come to an end two months from now (September), after the two agreed to end a code share for Africa-Europe routes, after suspending the arrangement last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya Airways hopes to continue serving the European market through its London, Paris and Amsterdam flights, albeit with a reduced capacity.

KQ has downsized its operations including a cut on its frequencies due to low demand with a huge number of its fleet being underutilised.

A decision to lease three of its biggest aircraft, Boeing777-300s with a seating capacity of 400 passengers to Turkish Airlines has come to haunt the carrier.

It has also terminated a leasing agreement of two Boeing 737-700s and gone ahead to negotiate for hourly rates, in the place of fixed costs on its 19 leased aircrafts which include nine Boeing 787s.“We have to negotiate so they don’t levy penalties. We will commit to a working plan,” chairman Michael Joseph told the Star in a past interview.The pandemic had pushed the carrier to operating 24 aircrafts down from 38.In what seems to be a strategy to make a strong post-Covid comeback, including on routes KQ has been enjoying code sharing, Air France-KLM Group has issued a tender to both Airbus and Boeing for up to 160 new short and medium-haul aircraft.This would be the largest order in the Group’s history, according to Group CEO Ben Smith, and would […]

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