Feb, 8th 2021 – Kenya Airways has flagged off the first freighter in response to the growing demand and need for increased cargo capacity.
This comes a month after the Kenya civil aviation authority gave a go ahead to convert some of their passenger planes for cargo.
The conversion KQ says it will help mitigate the dropping numbers of passenger flights due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Speaking at the launch, KAA Ag. MD, Alex Gitari noted that the Authority will continue to support the air cargo industry by providing the required infrastructure and facilities within the network of airports.
The cabin has been modified to carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo which will enable the aircraft reach its maximum of payload while in cargo operation of 46 tonnes.
KQ is proud to have collaborated with remarkable companies that have significant years of experience in aircraft and component maintenance. Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said, “It’s important to operate in the most competitive manner. I want to thank Kenya Airways and its partners. Together we can all continue to see greater recovery.”
Speaking in Nairobi KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka says that among the reasons for repurposing the aircraft is to expand trade as well as facilitate the dispatch of covid-19 vaccines in the continent.
He said, “As we continue to meet our customers’ needs and society’s needs at large, this introduction of this freighter will increase our capacity and our capability and it will allow us to serve our customers both in Kenya and abroad more effectively. It will also allow us to trade more within Africa.”
This move is aimed at addressing the growing demand for increased cargo capacity while supporting future commercial opportunities thereby contributing to the stimulation of the local and regional economies.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said that they are using this opportunity to rehabilitate and upscale their main facility in Jomo Kenyatta airport. He added that the initiative is not just a commercial venture but one to bring foreign exchange which is required by the nation’s product exporters.
He urged that we should look at the bigger picture of avoiding freighters from other airlines and challenged the exporting markets to seize this opportunity and raise the trading curve regionally and internationally.