• The 40 tons of fresh fruit and veg as cargo were imported as cargo in one of its Passenger Dreamliner’s converted to cargo plane.
• Kilavuka said there is demand for Cargo aircraft across the world with the main freighters operating mostly in Europe and the Americas creating a shortage in Africa.
Kenya Airways on Thursday exported 40 tons of fresh produce toLondon amid efforts to keep the economy alive.
The 40 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables, were imported as cargo in one of its passenger Dreamliners converted to a cargo plane.
The national carrier said that this is key in keeping the shelves of British supermarkets stocked and Kenyan jobs protected during the current Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled the economy.
The impact of this pandemic has been staggering and disrupted work.
So far millions of jobs have been lost in the aviation industry with many airlines remaining grounded because they did not anticipate the situation.
This has also been attributed to the fact that many countries have imposed total travel ban due to lock downs and in the current situation they cannot facilitate international travel.
Currently KQ has embarked on maintenance on most of its fleet in preparation for the post-Covid-19 era.
Group MD and CEO Allan Kilavuka said the airline is a key strategic asset and will be one of the catalyst for the rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are therefore positioning ourselves to be ready for the bounce back. As we do things differently, we know that it is critical for essential goods to be transported,” he said.
Kilavuka said there is demand for Cargo aircraft across the world with the main freighters operating mostly in Europe and America creating a shortage in Africa.
“We are exploring different options to keep the lights on in the organization. Cargo is one of those areas where we have converted four of our wide body aircraft to Cargo aircraft. We are also looking at the narrow body aircraft for shorter missions across Africa,” he said.
According to the CEO, they are currently looking at post Covid-19 crisis and will be looking to partner with the Government to help in the economic recovery of Kenya.
He said the airline will play its part in this process by continued connection of Africa to the world and the world to Africa.
“We are engaging with the Government for their continued support during this time and we are having very useful discussions around the same,” he said.
He said though the aviation industry is facing its most challenging crisis yet, airlines must look at the bright side and the opportunity it gives to re-calibrate businesses going forward.
“My focus since taking over at KQ has been on operation excellence, focusing on our staff and customers, creating a more responsive organization, readying it for take-off,” he said during a morning radio show on Spice FM.
He said the airline stopped flying to China in January, then suspended the Rome-Geneva route shortly after as the epicenter of COVID-19 shifted.