Lessors Allow KQ to Convert Dreamliners into Cargo Planes
Two lessors have allowed Kenya Airways (KQ) to convert two of its Dreamliner planes into cargo planes, a move that seeks to increase the airline’s cargo planes even as passenger numbers remain low.
Kenya Airways chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka says before the end of this year, the airline will convert the B787 Dreamliner aircraft to freighters for two years.
As Business Daily reports, the airline converted some of its Boeing 787 aircraft into freighters during the lockdown. However, they did not remove seats to accommodate more freight. The move could only see the carrier ferry close to 50% of goods.
KQ has two freighters now, but they cannot be used for a long-range, such as connecting Africa to Europe because of the minimal distance they can cover.
In September this year, KQ started other talks with lessors, seeking to return the leased aircraft in an effort to cut expenses. According to the airline CEO, Allan Kilavuka, they were negotiating with the lessors to only bill them when the planes are flying. Otherwise, they are seeking to return the aircraft that are not in use or even reduce rentals charges.
The national carrier says already, one company has already agreed to take a plane that hasn’t been in use.
KQ projects a return to full operations in 2023. By the end of 2020, it projects to be operating at about 38% capacity, with expectations of operating at 60% capacity by 2022.