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Kenya Airways signs deal for nine Boeing 787s

To expand the horizon, flight frequencies and replacement of old aircrafts, Kenya Airways, recently placed an order of nine 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft with Boeing.

The airline will replace six Boeing 767s of its fleet with the new 787 aircrafts and the rest three will be used for expanding new routes.

Kenya Airways is partly owned by Air France-KLM and has been keen to buy Airbus A330. The airline could not make the purchase because of the delay in the delivery of 787 aircraft since October 2010. The airline will receive the first delivery of its new 787 aircraft in the last quarter of 2013. This will further provide an opportunity to the international airline to purchase four more new planes.

The delivery of 787 carriers was delayed as the aircraft ran into production problems, which further pushed it about three years behind schedule. This also brought hype in the sales of A330, which is an older generation of mid-sized passenger jet.

At present Airbus is developing a new A350 lightweight aircraft that will give an equal competition to Boeing 787. The two aircrafts are equipped with the latest technology of weight-saving carbon composite materials that will reduce the fuel cost.

Kenya Airways is planning to curb its fleet and will also limit its connectivity to several destinations and flight frequencies. The limitations will also apply to the routes with heavy air travel demand.

Although the value of order was not revealed by both the companies, experts believe that the national airline has made an investment of approximately USD 1.8 billion on the nine 787 aircrafts.

The airline is also planning to raise its fares to fund the expansion process and also to fight the rising fuel prices. According to Kenya Airways, the fuel costs account for approximately 30 to 40 percent of the carrier’s total operating costs.

Titus Naikuni, chief executive officer, Kenya Airways, said, "It (oil prices) is impacting us quite a bit. We will have to increase our fares."