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Kenya Airways to convert passenger Dreamliner into cargo carrier

Kenya Airways’ (KQ) request to convert one of its large passenger Dreamliner into a cargo plane has been approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe told journalists that the Aviation Authority made the approval on Friday, January, 29.

“We have approved Kenya Airways request of converting the Dreamliner into a freighter, and they are now able to use it worldwide for cargo purposes,” Kibe stated.

The agency’s approval for Boeing 787 to be converted into a cargo carrier comes few weeks after the US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave KQ the green light to do the same.

This approval will enable Kenya Airways to increase the available carrying capacity at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by more than 1000 tonnes.

According to the airline, the move would help it to use Boeing 787 for long haul cargo services between Kenya and other countries.

Currently, KQ relies on two short-haul aircraft for ferrying cargo.

The approval by KCAA will also boost exportation, especially in the horticulture industry.

Earlier on, Kenya Airways had opened talks with leasers to have it allowed to remove seats in some of the Dreamliner aircraft and convert them into freighters.

The airline converted some of its Boeing 787 aircraft into freighters due to the low number of travellers as a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures, but they could only accommodate 50 per cent of goods since all the seats were not removed.

It posted a loss of 132 million dollars in the last half-year because of the grounding of flights caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The loss was bigger than the annual losses posted by the airline in the last three years.

The airliner made a net loss of Sh12.99 billion in 2020 with flight halting causing passenger revenue to go down by 83 per cent. The cancellation of passenger flights brought about the loss.

KQ is now hopeful that the conversion of the Dreamliner into a cargo carrier will help increase revenue.

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