KQ leases aircraft to cope with high festive season travel

The deal also seeks to enhance capacity in the market as holiday travel demand peaks

In Summary
  • The wide-bodied aircraft has a capacity of 299 passengers, split into 24 in the business cabin and 275 in the economy class.
  • It also augments the existing cargo space with additional belly capacity.
An A330 Airbus aircraft.
An A330 Airbus aircraft.

Kenya Airways has leased an A330 Airbus aircraft from Portuguese-based Hi Fly to cope with increased festive season travel demand.

The aircraft has a capacity of 299 passengers, split into 24 in the business cabin and 275 in the economy class and additional cargo belly capacity.

Kenya Airways group managing director and CEO Allan Kilavuka, said the airline needed to take practical steps in the short term to address pertinent challenges in the market.

“With the current capacity constraints on the back of the growing demand for airline travel, we need to balance our customers’ immediate needs by bringing more capacity into the market,” Kilavuka said.

He said the airline's arrival will improve operational stability and efficiency, as well as enhanced capacity for the convenience of passengers.

"The move will also support the anticipated increased number of travellers following the recent announcement by President William Ruto on ending visa requirements for all visitors to Kenya starting January 2024."

Kilavuka said leasing was the quickest way to immediately deal with capacity challenges during this festive season, as the aircraft comes in ready to fly.

Hi Fly, is one of the world’s leading lease and charter specialist airlines based in Lisbon, Portugal.

KQ's fleet currently consists of a mix of owned and leased planes, including wide-body jets like the Boeing 787, narrow-body jets such as the Boeing 737, Embraer regional jets, Bombardier Dash 8-400 jets and Boeing 737 freighters.

A recent report by Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) noted KQ's fleet size has been dropping since 2015, a period that has seen the airline struggle to return to profitability after making steep losses in 2014, causing some of its engineers and pilots to seek greener pastures.

It had 52 airplanes in 2015 and the fleet dropped to 39 in 2017 before rising to 42 in 2021.


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