Boeing and Kenya Airways celebrated the delivery of the Kenyan flag carrier’s first 787 Dreamliner on April 4. The aircraft departed Paine Field in Everett for a 7,800 nautical mile (14,456 km) nonstop flight to Kenya Airways’ home base in Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The airline says the 787 will form the backbone of the airline’s future long-haul fleet.
“The delivery of our first ever 787 Dreamliner not only opens a new chapter for our airline, but also for Kenya,” said Dr Titus Naikuni, CEO Kenya Airways.
“The 787 will enable Kenya Airways to explore new markets, improve its economic performance, provide passengers with revolutionary comfort, while continuing to contribute towards the sustainable development of Africa.”
This delivery is the first of nine 787 Dreamliners set to join Kenya Airways’ fleet. The deliveries of additional 787s, along with 777-300ER (Extended Range) aircraft, forms part of the East African carrier’s ten-year strategic plan called “Project Mawingu.” The plan is focused on increasing the airline’s fleet size from 44 aircraft to 107 by 2021 and destinations from the 62 to 115. Currently the Nairobi-based carrier operates an all-Boeing long-haul fleet of six 767-300ERs, four 777-200ERs and one 777-300ER.
Kenya Airways’ first 787 is scheduled to begin flying regionally within Africa in the coming weeks, before beginning long-haul service to Paris in early June.