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[February 22, 2013]
Kenya Airways boosts its fleet for regional expansion
NAIROBI, Feb 22, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Kenya Airways, has expanded its fleet with the delivery of a new fully owned Embraer E190 jet, as its 10-year growth strategy gains momentum.
Airline CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni said on Friday that the E-jet is the seventh out of 10 that the airline is in the process of acquiring as part of the 10-year growth strategy, dubbed Project Mawingu that was rolled out in 2011.
"This will help us to achieve fleet optimization by deploying E- jets to short regional routes, including destinations within the continent, thus freeing the larger aircrafts to operate regional and continental routes. This will translate into better customer care, besides increasing the frequency of our flights," he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The move came after the national carrier announced its expansion of its global network through a new codeshare agreement with United Arab Emirates national carrier, Etihad Airways.
Under the new codeshare agreement, Kenya Airways will initially place its KQ code on Etihad Airways existing daily service between Nairobi and Abu Dhabi, and onwards to 32 destinations on Etihad's global network.
The deal will provide passengers with connections over Abu Dhabi to destinations across North Asia, South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Australia.
The codeshare agreement is expected to boost Kenya's JKIA as a regional transport hub given that the expansion and modernization of the airport is one of the flagship projects under Vision 2030.
The agreement with the UAE carrier brings the number of strategic codeshares that Kenya Airways has signed with other international carriers to 18.
Under the 10 year growth strategy, Kenya Airways is aimed at increasing its fleet from the current 39 aircrafts to 119 by 2021, while growing the number of destinations to over 115 from the over 50 that it currently flies to.
Naikuni said that the airline is acquiring different aircraft types as it targets a mix of narrow body and wide body aircrafts for passenger fleet as well as freighter fleet.
The airline has been receiving an E-jet a month since August 2012. The remaining three will be delivered between May and November 2013.
The E190 that has been delivered brings the number of E-jets to 17; and it is expected to increase to 20 by the end of 2013. The airline has also ordered nine Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts to be delivered from 2014 partly financed using proceeds from the Rights Issue successfully concluded in June.
Later this year, Kenya Airways will take delivery of the first of three B777-300ER aircraft that will be used to bolster its intercontinental flights to Europe and the Far East.
The aircrafts in Kenya Airways' fleet include Boeing B777, B767 and B737, as well as Embraer E190 and E170.
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