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Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 22 January 1977 (1977-01-22)
Commenced operations 4 February 1977 (1977-02-04)
Frequent-flyer program Flying Blue
Airport lounge
  • JV Lounge
  • Simba Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam
  • African Cargo Handling Limited (100%)
  • Jambojet (100%)
  • Kenya Airfreight Handling Limited (51%)
Fleet size 45
Destinations 62[2]
Company slogan The Pride of Africa
Headquarters Embakasi, Nairobi, Kenya
Key people
Revenue Decrease KSh98,860 million (FY 2013)[3]
Operating income Decrease KSh9,012 million (FY 2013)[3]
Net income Decrease KSh7,864 million (FY 2013)[3]
Profit Decrease −KSh25,740 million (FY 2015)[4]
Total assets Increase KSh122,670 million (FY 2013)[3]
Employees 3,986
Website .comkenya-airways

Kenya Airways Ltd., more commonly known as Kenya Airways, is the flag carrier of Kenya.[5] The company was founded in 1977, after the dissolution of East African Airways. The carrier's head office is located in Embakasi, Nairobi,[6] with its hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.[7]

The airline was wholly owned by the Government of Kenya until April 1995 (1995-04), and it was privatised in 1996, becoming the first African flag carrier to successfully do so.[8] Kenya Airways is currently a public-private partnership. The largest shareholder is the Government of Kenya (29.8.%), followed by KLM, which has a 26.73% stake in the company. The rest of the shares are held by private owners; shares are traded on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, and the Uganda Securities Exchange.[8][9]

Kenya Airways is widely considered as one of the leading Sub-Saharan operators;[10] as of January 2013, the carrier was ranked fourth among the top ten ones that operate in Africa by seat capacity, behind South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and EgyptAir.[11] The airline became a full member of SkyTeam in June 2010 (2010-06), and is also a member of the African Airlines Association since 1977.[12][13] As of March 2015, the company had 3,986 employees.[2]


  • History 1
  • Corporate affairs 2
    • Key people 2.1
    • Subsidiaries and associates 2.2
    • Business trends 2.3
  • Destinations 3
    • Alliances 3.1
    • Codeshare agreements 3.2
    • Future plans 3.3
  • Fleet 4
    • Recent developments and future plans 4.1
    • Current fleet 4.2
    • Retired fleet 4.3
    • Livery 4.4
  • Services 5
    • Frequent flyer programmes 5.1
    • In-flight entertainment 5.2
  • Accidents and incidents 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11


Kenya Airways was established by the Kenyan government on 22 January 1977 (1977-01-22), following the break-up of the East African Community and the consequent demise of East African Airways (EAA).[12][14][15] On 4 February 1977 (1977-02-04),[16]:90 two Boeing 707–321s leased from British Midland Airways inaugurated operations,[17] serving the Nairobi–Frankfurt–London route.[18] On internal and regional flights, the carrier deployed aircraft formerly operated by the EAA consortium, such as one Douglas DC-9-52 and three Fokker F-27-200s.[18][nb 1] In late 1977, three Boeing 707s were acquired from Northwest Orient.[20] The following year, the company formed a charter subsidiary named Kenya Flamingo Airlines, which leased aircraft from the parent airline in order to operate international passenger and cargo services.[21] Aer Lingus provided the company with technical and management support in the early years.[22]

A Kenya Airways Fokker F27-200 at Moi International Airport in 1982.

In July 1980 (1980-07) the airline had 2,100 employees and a fleet of three Boeing 707-320Bs, one Boeing 720B, one DC-9-30 and three Fokker F-27-200s. At this time, Addis Ababa, Athens, Bombay, Cairo, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Kampala, Karachi, Khartoum, London, Lusaka, Mauritius, Mogadishu, Rome, Salisbury, Seychelles and Zurich were part of the airline's list of international destinations, whereas domestic services radiating from Nairobi to Kisumu, Malindi, Mombasa and Mumias were also operated.[15] A Nairobi–Bombay nonstop route was launched in 1982 using Boeing 707-320B equipment.[23] A year later, the company commenced serving Tanzania. Flights to Burundi, Malawi and Rwanda were launched in 1984. Capacity on the European routes was boosted in November 1985 (1985-11) with the incorporation of an Airbus A310-200 leased from Condor. Kilimanjaro was first served in March 1986 (1986-03).[24] That year, the airline ordered two Airbus A310-300s. Kenya Airways became the first African carrier in acquiring the type, and they were the first wide-bodies ordered by the company.[25] Funded with a US$20,000,000 ($43,029,751 in 2016) loan,[26] the delivery of these two aircraft took place in May and September 1986 (1986-09).[24][27] They were put on service on the Kenya–Europe corridor, and permitted Kenya Airways to return the A310-200 to the lessor.[24] In early 1988, the carrier ordered two Fokker 50s;[28] aimed at operating domestic routes, the airline received the first of these aircraft at the end of the year.[29] Also in 1988, the lease of a third A310-300 was arranged with the International Lease Finance for a ten-year period;[30] the aircraft joined the fleet in November 1989 (1989-11).[31] Leased from Ansett Worldwide, the first Boeing 757-200 was handed over to the company in January 1990 (1990-01), whereas a third Fokker 50 was incorporated in October the same year. By late 1991, two Boeing 737-200s had been leased from Guiness Peat Aviation.[31]

A Kenya Airways Airbus A310-300 at Fiumicino Airport in 1999. With registration 5Y-BFT, this particular aircraft entered the fleet in November 1989 (1989-11).[31]

In 1986, Sessional Paper Number 1 was published by the Government of Kenya, outlining the country's need for economic development and growth. The document stressed the government opinion that the airline would be better off if owned by private interests, thus resulting in the first attempt to privatise the airline. The government named Philip Ndegwa as

External links

  • Kenya Airways Official website


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  4. ^ a b  Archived 1 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
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  18. ^ a b Guttery (1998), p. 97.
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  23. ^ Guttery (1998), p. 97,98.
  24. ^ a b c d Guttery (1998), p. 98.
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  31. ^ a b c d e f g Guttery (1998), p. 99.
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  59. ^  Archived 1 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine
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  101. ^  Archived 6 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  102. ^  Archived 2 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  103. ^  Archived 2 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
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  105. ^ a b  Archived 2 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  106. ^  Archived 19 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
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  120. ^ Accident description for 5Y-BBS at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 20 September 2011.
  121. ^ Incident description for 5Y-BBK at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 15 July 2011.
  122. ^
  123. ^ Accident description for Flight 431 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 9 June 2011.
  124. ^ a b Accident description for Flight 507 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 15 June 2011.
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  1. ^ Flight International also reported that Kenya Airways flew Douglas DC-9-32s previously operated by EAA.[19]
  2. ^ It is likely that Flight International records had not been updated at the time of publish. Another source informed that the number of A310s in fleet immediately after the crash was three.[41]


See also

As of October 2014, Kenya Airways has had two fatal accidents and two hull loss accidents.[120]

5Y-BBK, a Kenya Airways Boeing 707-320B, resulted damaged beyond economical repair on 11 July 1989, in an accident at Bole International Airport. The aircraft is seen here on the apron at Zürich Airport in 1986.

Accidents and incidents

  • Boeing 777-300ER/Boeing 787-8

Premier World entertainment is AVOD; NVOD is offered in Economy class.[114][115]

  • Boeing 777-200ER

Premier World entertainment is AVOD, while NVOD is offered in Economy class. Twelve audio channels are available in both classes.[116]

  • Boeing 737–700/800

Overhead screens in both classes, plus eight channels of audio offered.[117]

  • Boeing 737–300

Background music playing throughout the flight.[118]

  • Embraer 190

Individual in-seat touchscreens.[119]

Different in-flight entertainment is available depending upon the aircraft and the Travel class travelled. The airline's in-flight magazine is called Msafiri, and is distributed among the passengers in all aircraft, irrespective of the class.[113]

In-flight entertainment

Former Kenya Airways' frequent flyer programme Msafiri was merged with KLM's Flying Dutchman in 1997,[12] which was in turn merged with that of Air France and rebranded as Flying Blue in 2005, following the fusion of both companies. Gold Elite and Platinum Elite members of the Flying Blue programme are offered the JV Lounge.[112] This service is provided to Kenya Airways passengers, and to passengers flying with its partner airlines as well.[112] Simba Lounge is a service provided to Kenya Airways Business passengers only.[112] Both lounges are located at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.[112]

Frequent flyer programmes


In 2005, Kenya Airways changed its livery. The four stripes running all through the length of the fuselage were replaced by the company slogan Pride of Africa, whereas the KA tail logo was replaced by a styled K encircled with a Q to evoke the airline's IATA airline code.

The airline's old and new livery can be seen here on this Boeing 737-700. The left picture was taken in 2006, while the right image shows the same aircraft in 2007.


Kenya Airways retired fleet
An Ireland-registered Douglas DC-8-70 wearing a Kenya Airways livery at Fiumicino Airport in 1990

The company has previously operated the following equipment:[108]

Retired fleet

As of September 2015, the carrier‍‍ '​‍s fleet consists of the following aircraft:[105]

A Boeing 777-200ER at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2013

Current fleet

As of April 2015, the carrier was set to sell some aircraft, including four Boeing 777s, following a decrease in passenger traffic.[103][104]

Kenya Airways had nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order, as of April 2011, although the company considered cancelling the order after systematic delays with the delivery dates.[95][96] The airline received some compensation, in cash and in kind, from Boeing for the delays.[97] Afreximbank are financing the acquisition of the 20 aircraft the airline has on order.[98] The handover of the first Boeing 787 took place on 4 April 2014.[99][100] On 4 June 2014 (2014-06-04), Nairobi–Paris became the first route that was served using the Boeing 787.[101] In August 2014 (2014-08), Dreamliners were also deployed on the Nairobi–Johannesburg route.[102]

The company announced in late February 2011 (2011-02) its intention of acquiring a freighter aircraft to boost cargo capacity on African operations.[87] Until February 2012 (2012-02), when a joint freighter service with KLM was launched, the carrier's cargo division has been using belly capacity on its operations; there are plans to buy and lease more freighter aircraft in order to boost capacity in the growing cargo market between Africa and Asia.[88] Furthermore, the airline announced in October 2012 (2012-10) the conversion of some Boeing 737-300s into freighter aircraft to complement the Boeing 747-400F service, jointly operated with KLM and Martinair Cargo.[89] The first of four converted Boeing 737-300s was delivered to the company in April 2013 (2013-04); Kenya Airways will fly this aircraft on routes to eastern, central and southern Africa that are served by the Embraer 190s, in order to boost cargo capacity.[90] The company took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER, on lease from GECAS,[91] in October 2013 (2013-10).[92][93] It had been previously announced that this aircraft would be deployed on a new route to Guangzhou in November.[94]

A Kenya Airways Boeing 777-300ER on short final to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2014.

The first of five Embraer 190s ordered in 2010 was incorporated into the fleet in December 2010 (2010-12).[82][83] An additional order for ten aircraft of the same type was placed in August 2011 (2011-08);[82] the carrier took delivery of the first and second of these fully owned aircraft in September 2012 (2012-09).[84][85] In October 2012 (2012-10), the airline took possession of the 900th E-Jet manufactured by Embraer.[86]

Recent developments and future plans


In October 2013 (2013-10), the airline reaffirmed its intention of expanding its route network with the addition of six new destinations every year, following the delivery of Boeing 777s and 787s the carrier has on order.[80] Beijing and Shanghai are expected to be included in the airline‍‍ '​‍s route network by the end 2014.[81]

In April 2012 (2012-04), the airline launched a plan named Project Mawingu (the Swahili for Clouds) to add 24 destinations by 2021, including the start of services to Australia, and North and South America, and expanding its presence in Asia as well.[77] The carrier intends to add new flights to São Paulo (FY2014/15), Toronto (FY2015/16), and Perth (FY 2016/17), and to build up a network in Mainland China consisting of eight cities by 2021, adding seven new destinations (Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Shanghai, Ürümqi, and Xiamen) to Guangzhou, the only city served in the region, as of April 2012.[77] In June 2012 (2012-06), the carrier announced the suspension of services to Rome and Muscat as part of cost-cutting measures, following a 50% fall in profit for FY2011/12.[78][79]

Future plans

As of January 2015, the carrier has codeshare agreements with the following companies, which are the actual operators on the routes specified in parenthesis:[69]

Codeshare agreements

KLM sponsored the process of the company joining SkyTeam in mid-2005.[62] In September 2007 (2007-09), the alliance welcomed Kenya Airways as one of the first official SkyTeam Associate Airlines.[63][64] SkyTeam upgraded the status of the company to a full membership in June 2010 (2010-06).[65][66] The alliance provides Kenya Airways' passengers with access to the member airlines' worldwide network and passenger facilities.[67][68]



2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Turnover (KSh m) 30,984 42,234 52,804 58,792 60,471 71,829 70,743 85,836 107,897 98,860 106,009 110,161
Profits (EBT) (KSh m) 2,075 5,520 6,960 5,975 6,526 −5,664 2,671 5,002 2,146 −10,826 −4,861 −29,712
Number of employees 2,977 3,222 3,599 4,154 4,267 4,179 4,133 4,355 4,834 4,006 3,989 4,002
Number of passengers (m) 1.7 2.0 2.4 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 3.1 3.6 3.7 3.7 4.2
Passenger load factor (%) 70.2 75.4 74.2 73.6 70.4 70.8 66.5 69.2 71.7 68.7 65.6 63.6
Number of aircraft (at year end) 19 20 21 23 24 28 27 31 34 43 47 52
Notes/sources [55] [55] [56] [56] [57] [57] [57] [58] [58] [3][53] [59] [60][61]

The key trends for the Kenya Airways group over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 March):

Business trends

The cargo handling company African Cargo Handling Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kenya Airways; partly owned companies are Kenya Airfreight Handling Limited, dedicated to the cargo handling of perishable goods (51%-owned)[52] and Tanzanian carrier Precision Air (41.23%-owned).[53] A new low-cost subsidiary named Jambojet was created in 2013.[54]

Subsidiaries and associates

As of July 2015, Kenya Airways' chief executive officer (CEO) position was held by Mbuvi Ngunze.[4] Ngunze, who had been appointed CEO in June 2014 (2014-06), was the company‍‍ '​‍s former chief operating officer.[50] Evanson Mwaniki was the airline‍‍ '​‍s chairman, as of June 2014.[51]

Key people

Corporate affairs

In January 2000 (2000-01), the airline experienced its first fatal accident when an Airbus A310 that had been bought new in 1986 crashed off Ivory Coast, shortly after taking off from Abidjan.[40][41] By April the same year, the aircraft park consisted of four Airbus A310-300s,[nb 2] two Boeing 737-200 Advanced and four Boeing 737-300s. At this time the company had a staff of 2,780, including 400 engineers, 146 flight crew and 365 cabin crew. From its main hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, scheduled services were operated to Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Bujumbura, Cairo, Copenhagen, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Dubai, Eldoret, Entebbe/Kampala, Harare, Johannesburg, Karachi, Khartoum, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Lokichoggio, London, Lusaka, Mahe Island, Malindi, Mombasa, Mumbai, and Zanzibar.[16]:90 In 2002, an order for three Boeing 777-200ERs was placed with Boeing; an additional aircraft of the type was acquired in November 2005 (2005-11).[42] In March 2006 (2006-03), six Boeing 787-8s were ordered; the first two examples would be delivered in 2010 and the rest in 2011.[43] The original Boeing 787 order was amended nine months later to include three more aircraft of the type.[44] In June 2012 (2012-06) the company announced the issuance of rights worth KSh20 billion, aimed at increasing capital to support expansion plans.[45][46][47] Following the allocation of shares, KLM increased their stake in the company from 26% to 26.73%, while the Kenyan government boosted their participation into the company from 23% to 29.8%, becoming the new major shareholder of the carrier.[48][49]

KLM was eventually awarded the privatisation of the company, which restructured its debts and made a master corporation agreement with the Dutch airline that bought 26% of the shares, becoming the largest single shareholder since then.[34][36][37] Shares were floated to the public in March 1996 (1996-03), and the airline started trading on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.[38] The Government of Kenya kept a 23% stake in the company, and offered the remaining 51% to the public; however, non-Kenyan shareholders could at most had a participation of 49% in the airline.[34][36][37] Despite 40% of the shares being kept by foreign investors following privatisation (including KLM‍‍ '​‍s 26% stake), top management positions were held by Kenyans.[32] Following the takeover, the government of Kenya capitalised US$70 million, while the airline was awarded a US$15 million loan from the International Finance Corporation to modernise its fleet.[34] In a deal worth US$82 million, two Boeing 737-300s were ordered in July 1996 (1996-07).[39]

[35][34][33] were among the airlines that expressed interest in taking a stake in Kenya Airways.South African Airways and Lufthansa British Airways, KLM, [31] million.US$78

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