Kenya Airways has signed an agreement with Turkish Airlines for delivery of the first B777-300ER aircraft to be subleased to the carrier which is on a rapid-expansion path with an acute shortage of aircraft.
Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze said the B777-300ER has now been deregistered in Kenya and subsequently re-registered in Turkey.
“It has been a long journey and we are happy to announce our plans are now coming to fruition,” Ngunze said in a statement released in Nairobi.
Aviation analysts said the shift to leasing is expected to reduce the airline’s debt load and overall capital expenditure, easing pressure on the loss-making airline.
“Subleasing and selling of aircraft will improve our fleet costs by over 7 million U.S. dollars a month and is part of our strategy to turn Kenya Airways into profitability in the next 18 to 24 months,” he added.
The leasing of the aircraft would leave Kenya Airways to operate their long-haul services with the state-of-the-art Boeing B787
Dreamliner, of which seven aircraft are presently in service.
The sublease is part of the Kenyan carrier’s strategy as it seeks to rationalise its excess capacity through sub-leases and outright sales.
This year alone, Kenya Airways has signed a sale agreement with Omni Air International (Omni) for two B777-200ERs and a sublease agreement with Oman Air for two B787-8s.
Both B777-200ERs have since been delivered to Omni and the first of the two 787-8s was delivered to Oman Air at the beginning of April 2016.
“The airline plans to continue to utilize its B787, B737 and E190 fleets across its network in a more efficient manner and increasing utilization,” Ngunze said.