Kenya Airways today began flying its first ever B787 Dreamliner on the Nairobi-Paris route as the aircraft made its first commercial flight. The Dreamliner’s inaugural flight on the route landed on Wednesday (June 4) at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 06:20 hours local time from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, where it had taken off from 22:45 hours.
It was flown by Captain Irene Mutungi, the first African female B787 Dreamliner captain. Kenya’s Director – Europe for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Lazarus Amayo was the passenger-in-chief on the flight. Also onboard was H.E. Remi Maréchaux, the French Ambassador to Kenya.
The B787 Dreamliner replaces the B767 aircraft which previously served the route. Kenya Airways has introduced it to boosts capacity in response to growing demand on the route. This has boosted the airline’s capacity into Europe by eight per cent.
Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said: “We are in the process of modernizing our fleet, which is already one of the most modern on the continent at the moment. It is one of the ways through which we aim at consistently providing a world-class experience to our customers across our network of destinations.”
Kenya Airways becomes the second African airline to deploy the Dreamliner to commercial service. Air France-KLM and Kenya Airways have been strategic partners for years. Since 1997 and their joint-venture agreement, KLM and Kenya Airways have built upon a joint organisation, which enables customers to get optimal connections and higher frequencies between Africa and Europe and more competitive offers.
In addition to the long-lasting Amsterdam-Nairobi and Paris-Nairobi routes, customers are now able to travel on an extended scope of joint routes, including London-Nairobi, and flights between Amsterdam and Entebbe, Kigali, Harare and Lusaka – representing close to 40 weekly flights operated jointly. Air France and Kenya Airways have also deeply strengthened their cooperation over the past few years and now operate 20 destinations in code share beyond Nairobi as well as 21 French and European destinations beyond Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
“Our cooperation with Kenya Airways is a key part to our development in East Africa” declared Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air France-KLM. “Having strong and exclusive partnerships with major operators helps us increasing our exposure to growing markets. Moreover, it means contributing to the development,of Kenya Airways, which is not only a business ally but also a strategic partner,” he added.
Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the Dreamliner will be departing from JKIA at 2245 hours local time; arriving at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 0620 hours local time. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, the Dreamliner will fly from Paris, departing the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 1055 hours local time; arriving at the JKIA in Nairobi at 2025 hours.
Kenya Airways received the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on April 5, 2014. The aircraft was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta, and named ‘‘Great Rift Valley’. Featuring the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies, this highly efficient aircraft provide better fuel efficiency of up to 20 percent compared to other long-haul aircrafts.
Among the enhanced features of B787 include a quieter, smoother flight, lower cabin pressure, higher humidity levels and ambient mood lighting contributing to a more rested feeling upon arrival in addition to cutting-edge aesthetics that includes more spacious interior cabin design featuring larger overhead bins with custom-made seats in both Business and Economy class as well as cleaner air continuously circulating through an advanced filtration system.