KQ to commission its first wholly owned cargo plane
10 April 2013, 12:52
Nairobi - Kenya Airways will this Thursday (tomorrow) commission its first wholly owned cargo plane as it shifts gears in its bid to muscle its way into the lucrative air freight business.
The airline which is locked in a tussle for a market share of the business with regional powerhouses South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines plans to convert four Boeing 737-300 planes from passenger carriers to cargo planes.
The freighters are expected to boost cargo flights that Kenya Airways already operates between Africa and China using a plane owned by Dutch firm Martinair.
South African Airways, Ethiopian and Egypt Air are the only African carriers operating their own cargo planes.
Kenya Airways management on Tuesday said the cargo business was growing exponentially in Africa as intra-continental trade booms, hence the decision to convert the four passenger planes into freighters.
Last year, the Kenyan airliner shifted some 15 286 tonnes of cargo, mainly using the limited belly capacity of its passenger planes.
"Indeed, we are positioning ourselves to take advantage of the emerging travel and transport needs (of the continent)," Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni said in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, the Airport Council International (ACI) in partnership with airline industry stakeholders has mooted plans to improve air safety in Kenya.
The council is partnering with the National Wildlife Control Committee headed by George Amutete, who is also the Wildlife Control Manager at Kenya Airports Authority.
The committee wants to develop mitigation measures for the prevention of wildlife strikes within the airports.
It has been working closely with the ACI to promote the management of wildlife within and around the airports.
Sanne Patijn, the Manager Bird Control and Airside Operations at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, who is also an ACI safety ambassador, this week, toured Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to brief the committee on the management of wildlife hazards.
The success of Kenya in management of wildlife hazards is imperative to ACI as Kenya currently chairs the Eastern Africa Wildlife Committee, started in 2008.
Member countries include Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda.
During the tour Patijn said she was impressed by the Foreign Object Detection programme, saying it is a joint effort between the management of the Kenya Airports Authority and air stakeholders.
"There are a lot of similarities in the wildlife hazard management policy of JKIA and Amsterdam. We need closer collaboration between the two Airports on best practice," she said.
Patijn is touring African Airports on a three months programme aimed at improving airport operations through strengthening of bird hazard management policy.
She is also facilitating workshops on the use of safety management tools on wildlife hazard management.
- CAJ News