Kenya Airways’ head cargo commercial Peter Musola announced that they will be starting a twice-a-week freighter service to Mumbai, with its newly inducted Boeing 737-800 freighter, via Sharjah from January 15, 2024.

With the routing Nairobi-Sharjah-Mumbai-Nairobi, KQ has plans to expand the frequency to four times per week.

Kenya Airways inducted the new aircraft in November 2023 and is planning to add the second B737-800 freighter in February 2024. This will take KQ's freighter fleet to 4 aircraft as it already operates two Boeing 737-300 freighters, primarily for the Africa region.

He made the announcement while speaking at a panel discussion on pharma logistics at the India International Cargo Show (IICS) 2023 in Mumbai on Thursday (Dec 14, 2023).

With a range of up to 7 hours, the new aircraft will offer 20 tonnes of cargo capacity to and from its Nairobi hub. Kenya Airways already operates twice-daily passenger service to Mumbai with its Boeing 737-800 aircraft which has a belly capacity of one tonne.

Talking to STAT Media Group about the demand KQ is witnessing in Mumbai and India, Musola said, “The products include pharmaceuticals, spare parts, machinery, high tech, consumer goods and electronics. India is a strong manufacturing country and it is becoming a manufacturing giant. Most of these products are in demand in Africa and we want to leverage this as an airline.”

He also pointed out that 20 percent of all pharmaceuticals manufactured in India end up in Africa. “So Kenya Airways is looking into tapping these opportunities,” he said.

Talking about further expanding its services and reach in India, Musola noted that it considers Mumbai International Airport as its entry point to India while the airline is exploring opportunities including flying to new Indian destinations.

“We are not sufficiently servicing our customers in the Mumbai market because we are only offering belly capacity which is limited. So we will first grow that segment and once it is developed, we will go to the other markets.

While the Nairobi based airline is planning to expand its fleet, operations and destinations, in a recent December 2023 update Kenya Airways informed that it is expecting disruptions and even grounding of aircraft due to shortage of spare parts.

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