There is intense speculation among aviation pundits that delayed deliveries – there is also another Boeing B737-800NG SkyInterior due later this year – may be tied to the success of disposing of the four Boeing B777-200s which have been earmarked for sale by this African airline.
There have in fact been some suggestions that converting the purchase agreements into operating leases may also have taken longer than anticipated even though Dreamliner number seven’s purchase agreement had been altered into a long-term lease.
It was confirmed that the delivery dates for the remaining two B787 Dreamliners for Kenya Airways (KQ) have been pushed further ahead, although both aircraft are reportedly ready for delivery and are now parked at the Boing assembly plant. Both aircraft were initially due for delivery and integration into the fleet by September this year.
Being singled out for blame over last financial year’s losses by sections of the social and mainstream media also does not seem to take into account, that at least two other leading African airlines, Egypt Air and South African Airways, equally made large losses, with Egypt Air deeper in the red than Kenya Airways and South African only slightly better off.
What has become clear though is that senior management in Embakasi, together with a team of consultants, are for weeks now burning the midnight oil to revise the various assumptions made when the airline’s strategic “Plan Mawingo” was formulated and unveiled a few years ago, and updating it by taking all parameter changes into account, different timelines included.
“This is absolutely not the time to continue lashing out at our national airline,” said a Kenyan participant in the East Africa Tourism Platform meeting yesterday in Kigali. “KQ plays a major role to connect Kenya to key source markets. They are supportive of the tourism industry. Just the day before yesterday they signed a new MOU with the Kenya Tourist Board to join hands in cranking up destination marketing. This should help to get the ongoing recovery of our tourism sector into higher gear. Whatever issues there are, whatever issues the tourism industry has with our national airline, it is better to sit down with KQ and discuss the way forward through our associations instead of the social media. You will never see something like what is happening in Kenya happen here in Rwanda. From all I have seen, these guys stand solidly behind RwandAir and that is a lesson I take home with me.”