The ongoing delays of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has rocked relations between the US-based plane manufacturer and East African airlines with the B787 on their order book.
Ethiopian Airlines already broke its own monopoly relation with Boeing, which existed for many years, to order Airbus models, and by recent reports, Kenya Airways (KQ) now too is in discussions with Airbus along the same lines for the potential purchase of A330 models. It appears that KQ had ordered as many as nine wide-bodied aircraft from Boeing, several of the B787 type, and may now switch this order to Airbus for A330 models. Kenya Airways was in fact flying a fleet of A310s, but replaced them with in an effort to upgrade its fleet.
KQ needs the new aircraft to both cut costs as well as expand their route network and frequencies, while they continue to race for domination in the African skies with their main competitors Ethiopian and South African.
KQ now serves 36 continental destinations, compared to just two less, i.e. 34 by Ethiopian, the erstwhile Pan African airline, and South African Airways, which is now serving 30 African destinations but has a “handicap” when connecting passengers from Europe and the East due to its hub being located in the extreme South of the continent, while both Nairobi and Addis offer a geographically superior connection points.
Traffic from and to African destinations, often at premium fares, continues to be the economic backbone of Kenya Airways and expansion to yet more destinations is on this column’s watch list.
Meanwhile more B787 orders were cancelled by German company TUI Travel, it was learned from contacts in the US monitoring the ongoing situation over the B787 sales developments.