Today Kenya Airway’s Captain Irene Koki Mutungi made history by becoming Africa’s first black female Boeing 787 Dreamliner certified Captain. Irene Koki, jetted into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) this afternoon to deliver the airline’s 4th Dreamliner.
The world has received Captain Koki’s fit as the first black female Dreamliner pilot favourably. The certification now gives her a thumbs-up to captain the state-of-the-art, super-efficient aeroplane. Many airlines have adopted the Boeing 787 as it becomes the darling of leading global commercial air operators.
In a feat that will go down in history as a first in Africa’s aviation industry, the all-female Kenya Airways crew that flew in the new aircraft also included a female Flight Purser, LoadMaster and Cabin Crew.
The wide-bodied plane’s delivery from the manufacturer’s – Boeing Corporation – Assembly Site in Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States to Kenya Airways’ Nairobi hub, now pushes KQ’s fleet count to 37 planes in active operation (4 787-8s, 3 777-300ERs, 4 777-200ERs, 5 737-800s, 4 737-700, 2 737-300Fs and 15 E190s).
As part of its fleet renewal strategy, Kenya Airways, is in the process of taking delivery of 5 more Dreamliner aeroplanes from Boeing Corporation, to complete an order for 9 such aircraft.
This afternoon, at exactly 12:45 PM, the 4th Dreamliner landed to a well-deserved round of public applause and a ceremonial water cannon shower by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Fire Brigade team. Kenya Airways’ Finance Director, Mr Alex Mbugua, received Captain Mutungi and her crew. He acknowledged the historical milestone in the delivery of the aircraft thus:
This is a historical moment for Kenya Airways as we have proved to the world and our aviation peers of our deliberate commitment to human resource development by providing an equal opportunity to our sisters. I look forward to a day in the near future when this aircraft will be managed by a 100% Ladies crew now that we have two first officers already undergoing certification training.
By receiving the 4th Dreamliner and with two more to go by October this year, Kenya Airways is maintaining its corporate focus on a strategic effort to renew its aircraft fleet to guarantee cost-efficient service delivery.
Within this fleet renewal and turnaround programme, Mr Mbugua confirmed, Kenya Airways has already received 4 Dreamliner aircraft which have already commenced operations on the Nairobi-Paris, Nairobi-Johannesburg and Nairobi-Bangkok-Hong Kong routes.
The Dreamliner fleet replaces the B767-300ER Fleet already removed from service. Alongside the Dreamliner deliveries, Kenya Airways has also received two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this year.
Besides enhancing our operational inefficiencies and overall bottom-line, the fleet renewal program is expected to improve the customer experience especially in the wide body fleet.
Mr Mbugua assured.
This fleet renewal program also provides us with an opportunity to maintain our edge as a globally competitive airline. Indeed, we are among the first twenty Boeing 787 customers in the world.
As part of the airline’s long-term fleet and route development strategy, the next 10 years will see Kenya Airways implement a plan geared towards growing the fleet size, modernising the aircraft equipment and simplifying it by reducing the number of aircraft types from 7 to 4.
Do you take time to find out the type of aircraft you are travelling in? If you do, what have been your different experiences?