Boeing has moved closer to the launch of its 767-400ERX model with the confirmation by Kenya Airways of a deal for three examples.

The airline, which has been operating one 767-300ER on its Nairobi-Amsterdam services leased from partner KLM since the crash of one of its Airbus A310s last January, revealed earlier this year it intends to move to an all-Boeing fleet of 737s and 767s. Kenya will add two additional 221-seat 767-300ERs on lease next July, and signed a commitment in March for three "enhanced" 259-seat -400ERs (Flight International, 14-20 March).

Kenya Airways Chairman Isaac Omolo Okero confirms the order, saying that deliveries will begin in 2004. The "enhanced" -400ER is in fact the longer range "-400ERX" version which is yet to be formally launched. The firming up of the commitment positions Kenya to be launch customer.

The ERX achieves greater range and payload through increased gross weight and the activation of space in the horizontal tail for additional fuel. This boosts range by about 1,110km (600nm) to 12,025km.

The East African carrier has been rationalising capacity in a bid to lower operating costs. Last month, a subsidiary, Flamingo Airlines, was launched with two leased Saab 340s to take over domestic services that had been contracted to Eagle Aviation.

Source: Flight International