Kenya’s Airways (KQ), the east African country national carrier announced it has signed a contract for acquisition of 10 Embraer 190 jets in a deal that includes the purchase rights for 16 jets from the company.
The new deal with the Brazilian giant manufacturer of commercial jets Embraer is expected to counter delays by Boeing that have seen the airline go slow on its expansion program.
The deal is also expected to increase the airlines control of various routes in the continent part of its 10 year plan that will see KQ double its fleet and expand to more capital cities around Africa.
The Embraer 190 fleet will be in ensuring Kenya airways becomes the leading carrier on the continent, interlinking African cities, and through our Nairobi hub, connecting Africa to the world, said Titus Naikuni, Managing Director Kenya Airways.
The Embraer jet option could also be a cost cutting measure especially with the volatility of oil prices with the cost per trip of the aeroplane 20-30% more efficient than the classic Boeing 737.
This is a factor that has made the Embraer a favourite of developing countries which operate 130 aircrafts on 17 African countries among them Egypt, Libya, Kenya and Nigeria.
The signing of this deal is our confirmation that our E-jets are instrumental in the growth of the airline industry in Sub-Saharan Africa said Mathieu Duquesnoy, the Embraer Vice president for Middle East and Africa markets.
The acquisition of the jets however come with challenges for KQ such as the availability of pilots and accessibility of service centres being that the only major centre in the continent is in Egypt.
Although the deal value is unknown the deal is estimated to be worth between 3 and 4bn dollars going by the market value. The 10 Embraer 190 jets are expected in Q3 of 2012 ahead of the delivery of 5 Boeing dream liners set for Q4 of 2013.