Kenya Airways adds second 737-800 freighter while African sea-air demand soars

Source: Markus Mainka/

Kenya Airways has put into operation its second Boeing 737-800 freighter and is hoping the additional capacity will help the airline meet rising sea-air demand to west Africa.

The second aircraft arrived in Kenya at the end of March and began flying for the airline at the beginning of April.

The airline took delivery of its first 737-800F at the start of the year and the two aircraft join Kenya Airways existing two 737-300Fs.

Kenya Airways head of cargo commercial Peter Musola said the two new aircraft offer a greater range than the 300Fs and will be used to reach the Middle East and India, specifically Sharjah and Mumbai, as well as destinations in Africa.

The carrier is hoping to add services to Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as an additional point in India, following the arrival of the second freighter.

Musola says another driver of demand this year has been sea-air volumes out of the Middle East as shippers look to avoid vessels taking the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope to reach west Africa due to missile attacks in the Red Sea.

He pointed out that Kenya Airways already serves many destinations in west Africa and is therefore able to capitalise on the sea-air demand.

“This has been a major modal shift of cargo from sea to airfreight and one of the regions impacted is the west coast of Africa. KQ is already touching into those end points in Freetown, Conakry, Monrovia, Accra,” he said.

“Ideally, those ships would be going through the Suez, around the continent and into that part of west Africa but for now it is kind of sealed off.

“A lot of the exporters in the Far East are transferring the cargo to the Middle East by seafreight and then from there it does the airfreight hop into the continent.”

He added that the carrier is also exploring the possibility of adding freighter flights to Dubai World Central, one of the main sea-air hubs in the region, although he adds these plans pre-exist the rise in sea-air and will help meet export demand (meat and perishables).

Kenya Airways is not the only air cargo company to note rising sea-air demand into west Africa as a result of the Red Sea attacks on container vessels.

Dirk Goovaerts, head of continental Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and global cargo chair at Swissport International, has also noticed increasing demand, which is expected to continue.

“We continue to expect a strong year for air cargo in Africa,” he said.

“There are many factors that play into this, but the ongoing difficulties for ocean freight to cross the Red Sea are a major accelerator for air cargo in Africa.”

Kenya Airways expands cargo capacity with additional freighters



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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]