Air Transport World

Kenya Airways awaits green light from government for modernization program; multinational management team has produced positive operating result for the airline of black Africa's no. 1 tourist nation.

Nairobi--Government procrastination is stunting the development of Kenya Airways, preventing the airline from taking full advantage of its position as the national carrier based at black Africa's no. 1 traffic center. Lack of modern equipment is the reason why Kenya's airline is not getting a larger share of the lucrative Nairobi air transport market.

The fact that the bulk of the tourists visiting Kenya's game parks and beach resorts travel on foreign airlines to reach Nairobi cannot be bvlamed on the Kenya Airways' management, which has done its utmost to promote the national carrier abroad and to provide a high standard of in-flight service. But however good the promotion and the cabin service few passengers voluntarily select Kenya Airways for long-distance flights to or from Nairobi when able to fly on a carrier operating widebody equipment.

Apart from the flight a week to Europe using a leased KLM McDonnell Douglas DC-10 all of Kenya Airways' long-distance services are operated with narrow-body Boeing equipment--three 707s and a 720B acquired from Northwest Orient Airlines in 1977 and 1978. Each of the 707s has logged some 46,000 hours while the 720B has logged over 60,000 hours.

Kenya Airways' only other jet is a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 which is used mainly for regional services in Africa and has logged some 24,000 hours to date. The remainder of the airline's fleet comprises two Fokker F27s, each with over 45,000 hours flying time. The Fokkers are mostly employed on domestic services.

No green light

The inadequacy of the fleet has long been recognized by the airline's owner--the government of Kenya--but despite recommendations from the various management teams, which have been running Kenya Airways since its establishment in early 1977, there has been no governmental green light. …

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