Kenya Airways is planning to begin services to the new Beijing Daxing International airport next year.
Speaking to FlightGlobal at the IATA annual general meeting in Seoul today, the African carrier's chief executive Sebastian Mikosz says a route to the new Chinese capital city airport from Nairobi would be "highly desirable".
He says the plan will be to operate services to Daxing using two Boeing 787-8s. Mikosz says the airline must now go through board approval for the new route, but adds that the plan to serve the Chinese capital was pre-approved in the airline's five-year plan for expansion.
Slot allocation is officially set to begin in October, but Mikosz says the SkyTeam carrier has been told it could begin preparations to apply immediately. He says he got the message "very clearly" that Kenya would be successful in securing slots, noting that the Chinese airport operator wanted two to three African airlines operating to the gateway.
Daxing is scheduled to open on 30 September as an alternative to Beijing Capital International airport and is expected to achieve a passenger throughput of 45 million in 2021, and for the figure to hit 72 million by 2025.
Mikosz says a "key essential" to making the route a success will be to develop a good partnership with fellow SkyTeam member China Eastern. The latter is one of the base airlines at the new airport.
Cirium schedules shows that Kenya Airways has one route to China, a service to Guangzhou. No airline is currently offering services between Nairobi and Beijing.