Kenya Airways unveils growth plans

DESPITE losing four key staff members to a Gulf airline, two of which have recently come back, Kenya Airways is building up its fleet and network.

Kenya Airways chief executive, Titus Naikuni has just agreed deals for two new 777-300ER aircraft and has leased a 747 freighter. Two further 737 freighters will join the fleet in October.

The 777s will be delivered in 2013 and will be utilised on routes to the Indian subcontinent.

Kenya is to begin flights to Beirut (Lebanon) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) later in the year.

“We are still working on the Jeddah details,” Naikuni said. “There is a problem with slots at the moment. The times that we are being offered don’t fit in with our schedule.”

Investment in the infrastructure at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta international airport and the roads around it has given a boost to the Kenyan economy and to the national airline, but there are issues in the cockpit.

“We have a shortage of pilots,” Naikuni said. “We have introduced new training schemes to encourage and support Kenyan nationals, but we will also be hiring foreign captains, particularly for our 737 fleet.”

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