Kenya Airways expects to receive more details from Boeing in the next month over the status of its 787 deliveries in light of delays to the programme.

The Nairobi-based carrier has nine Boeing 787-8s on order. The first of these were slated for delivery in the middle of 2010 and deliveries run to 2012.

But the programme has slipped and Boeing yesterday announced a third delay which will see the first flight take place at the end of the year, with first deliveries in the third quarter of 2009. Deliveries to launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) had originally been scheduled to begin next month.

Speaking in Nairobi prior to Boeing’s latest delay announcement, Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni explained the carrier was awaiting fresh details on whether its deliveries would be impacted.

“What we have been told by Boeing is that the initial aircraft that are supposed to be delivered in 2008-09 may be affected and for those like us, taking them in 2010, may not be affected, but they are not sure yet,” he says. “But we believe by next month they will let us know the position.”

Naikuni notes the carrier has some flexibility in retaining its six Boeing 767s – which the 787s will replace – for longer if deliveries are affected.

The 787s mark the latest element in the carrier’s fleet revamp. It has already taken delivery of four Boeing 777-200ERs and has been upgrading its Boeing 737 fleet with the newer 737-700/800 models.

It also last year took delivery of two Embraer 170 regional jets and will this month finally phase out its two Saab 340 turboprops. These were originally due to be sold last year, but the airline retained the aircraft for longer to provide additional capacity after it lost a 737-800 in an accident last May. It has primarily been deploying the turboprops at airports with short runways.

“There are some airports we serve where we cannot use our jets. So we made arrangements for [ATR operator] Precision Air, which is our partner in Tanzania, to come in and fly those routes,” explains Naikuni.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news