Kenya Airways (KQ) has become one of the first airliners to convert their Boeing 787 Dreamliner into a “Preighter” (passenger aircraft used as a freighter), even as the Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on passenger flight businesses across the world.
On Monday, KQ announced that the conversion would go a long way into adapting to the “new normal”, which would see the carrier turn around from loss-making.
“We are delighted this morning to make aerospace history with a first time ever cabin cargo repurposing of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner into a “Preighter” (passenger aircraft used as a freighter). The project is a collaboration between Kenya Airways and Avianor Inc, a worldwide breakthrough of this type to be performed on the Boeing 787 demonstrating our role as trailblazers in the aero industry,” KQ posted on social media.
KQ says the move is in response to the growing demand and need for increased cargo capacity, and also “respond to the ongoing demand for essential and medical goods and supporting future commercial opportunities thereby contributing to the stimulation of the local and regional economies.”
The repurposed Boeing 787 cabin is certified to carry up to 16 tons of cargo, bringing the overall maximum payload of the aircraft operating as a cargo plane to 46 tons.
[PHOTO/ COURTESY]“We are excited to be part of the first-ever certified cargo conversion of this type on the Boeing 787 aircraft. It demonstrates our agility, innovation and quick thinking, as well as increases our cargo capability and capacity to keep essential goods moving across the globe,” Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director & CEO, Kenya Airways, stated.So far, two of Kenya Airways’ nine Dreamliners are set for repurposing.