x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Etihad’s engineering unit signs deal with Kenya Airways

The maintenance arm of the airline will carry out intensive 'heavy' checks of the African carrier's Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, the Abu Dhabi company says.

Kenya Airways has signed an agreement with Etihad Airways Engineering for maintenance of its biggest aircraft. Noor Khamis / Reuters
Kenya Airways has signed an agreement with Etihad Airways Engineering for maintenance of its biggest aircraft. Noor Khamis / Reuters

Etihad Airways Engineering has signed an agreement with Kenya Airways to perform mandatory checks on its Boeing 787-8 fleet.

This is part of an integration programme for the newest additions to the airline’s fleet, Etihad Engineering said. The African carrier’s fleet numbers 34 in total and includes other Boeing jets plus an Airbus A310 and two Embraer planes.

The first of six scheduled Boeing 787 Dreamliner C-checks begins this month, with the last one planned for October this year. A C check, or heavy check, is an extensive check of individual systems and components for serviceability and function. It requires a thorough visual inspection of specified areas, components and systems as well as operational or functional checks. It is a high-level check that involves extensive tooling, test equipment and special skill levels. C checks remove the aeroplane from the revenue schedule for three to five days.

Kenya Airways, in May 2016 struck an agreement with the Irish aircraft leasing firm Awas to acquire three Dreamliners and lease them to the Nairobi-based airline, adding to the six Kenya Airways already owned, according to African Business Daily.

Dreamliners have an average list price of US$225 million but are often available at steep discounts in bulk purchases. Kenya Airways ordered nine of the planes in 2006 as part of its “Project Mawingu” expansion plan.

“Our airline has been on an aggressive modernization strategy,” the group managing director and chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze said of the deal at the time. “The new B787-8s have been instrumental in transforming our operations.”

The carrier is also planning a number of product and reliability improvement modifications to systems and components during these maintenance checks.

“We are pleased to support Kenya Airways in optimising its fleet performance and building its technical know-how through our expanding Boeing 787 heavy maintenance capabilities,” said Jeff Wilkinson, the chief executive for Etihad Airways Engineering.

Kenya Airways carried 4.2 million passengers in the year ended March 31, 2016, up 1.2 per cent year on year. Its losses fell to 4.09 billion Kenyan shillings (Dh145 million) for th year, from 16.33bn shillings the previous year.

Referring to the Etihad agreement, Martyn Haines, the Kenya Airways technical director, said: “We will use this opportunity to upscale and retool some of our technical department, who will be onsite to provide oversight of all work being done. The agreement also opens up other collaborative opportunities including training programmes.

“We have an ongoing maintenance programme of small and large checks across our other fleets, with all of these scheduled for completion within our maintenance facility.”

Etihad Airways Engineering is the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East and has served more than 100 airlines and aviation operators from around the world.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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