• The project is the collaboration between Kenya Airways and Avianor.
  • Kenya Airways currently has nine Dreamliners in its fleet.

February 09, 2021: Kenya Airways has launched the first time ever cabin cargo repurposing of a B787 Dreamliner into a preighter on February 9. The repurposing began in December 2020 and was completed in January 2021.

The project is the collaboration between Kenya Airways and Avianor which is a worldwide breakthrough to be performed on a B787.

Also Read: Kenya Airways to soon fly B787 preighters to meet cargo demand

"KQ's purpose is to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa. The preighter will enable us to bridge businesses & enhance connectivity. Kenya will export more goods to our partners across the globe & stimulate business for local suppliers," said Allan Kilavuka, CEO and MD of Kenya Airways.

The remodelled cabin has been modified to carry up to 16 tonnes of cargo, enabling the aircraft to reach its maximum of payload while in cargo operation of 46 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the decline in freighter capacity at the JKIA since the onset of Covid-19 has hit the perishable and flower exporters in Kenya.

Speaking at the occasion, Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya), said, "The horticulture sector's contribution to Kenya's economy cannot be downplayed. It is a major foreign exchange earner and provides employment opportunities to about 350,000 directly and supports over six million livelihoods."

Also Read: As Valentine's Day nears, Kenyan flower growers look for freighters to export

While speaking at the launch, Kenya Airports Authority's MD, Alex Gitari noted that the it will continue to support the air cargo industry by providing the requisite infrastructure and facilities within our network of airports.

In 2020, Kenya Airways used some of its B787 aircraft for cargo transportation, aircraft seats remained, limiting the space for an increased freight capacity. Avianor with its expertise supervised Kenya Airways' modifications on the full cabin repurposing of two of their B787s.

"We are proud of this achievement. This and other events point to the rebound of the aviation industry and are a testament to its ability to innovate in the face of one of the hardest challenges faced by humanity. This development is a bold step for Kenya Airways," stated James Macharia, cabinet secretary, ministry of transport infrastructure, housing and urban development.

Kenya Airways currently has nine Dreamliners in its fleet, which are primarily used for passenger flights.

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