Kenya Airways plans to open routes to every continent within the next 10 years by utilising a fleet of Boeing 787s and 777s.

Jimmy Kibati, head of network planning at Kenya Airways, told delegates during a World Routes Airline Briefing that the airline plans to open six new destinations every year as its nine 787s and two leased 777-300s begin to arrive.

He says Moscow, Chengdu, Beijing, Madras, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, São Paolo and Colombo are among the destinations on its agenda.

The Kenyan airline would then “look across the Atlantic and the Pacific” to open routes to places “along the lines of” Washington and Incheon. The next phase in Kenya’s development would be building its network to African cities.

As the airline expands Kibati says his “vision of the future would be to have an African airline alliance that includes Ethiopian, EgyptAir and Royal Air Maroc”, which could take advantage of the growing air market of the continent.

Another area of expansion will be cargo, says Kibati, who told delegates that Kenya’s existing joint venture with Martinair was working well and that it was now exploring the possibility of a joint venture with an Asian partner.

Kibati described the fire that gutted parts of its base airport, Jomo Kenyatta, earlier this year "as a major blow" for the carrier but also says it was a blessing in disguise as it meant the Kenyan government was now committed to modernising and transforming its facilities.