(Today in the skies over Kenya, the new B787 Dreamliner. Picture courtesy of Boeing)
When the Dreamliner will land later this morning, at 10.45 hrs eta to be precise, in Kenyas capital Nairobi for the first time ever, and by the looks of the programme captained by a Kenyan pilot, history will be made for not just for the aviation fraternity, who will be cramming the area outside the security fence to see the B787 park outside the Presidential Pavillion, but for the nation at large.
Kenya Airways has 9 of these aircraft on order and a further 4 options, deciding to wait for this revolutionary new bird rather than going for intermediate solutions, when the delivery of the aircraft was pushed from initially 2010 to now 2013. The Pride of Africa will be showing off their dream bird as one staff put it yesterday to this correspondent, and from the programme now at hand even President Mwai Kibaki will make his way to the airport to see and feel the aircraft, which will in a few years become the long haul backbone of Kenya Airways expanding fleet.
The World Tour put together by Boeing Commercial Airplanes is therefore aimed to not just showcase the aircraft to key buyers, and their constituencies but is also a goodwill tour to make up for the delays and in the process bag a few dozen more orders, as was already announced from Etihad, one of the Gulfs leading carriers, where a deal for 10 more of the Dreamliners was inked two days ago, raising the entire order to now 41 aircraft.
The bird is a radical departure from the way how aircraft were being built, and are still being built, using composite materials for the first time ever on a large scale, hull and wings included.
This allows for larger windows, and as a result of increased stability better, more passenger friendly cabin pressure in flight, while at the same time significantly improving the cabin climate, with the traditionally dry atmosphere getting a few extra percentage points in humidity, crucial for the feeling well by travelers on board this plane.
Watch this space tomorrow for a report on the B787 Dreamliner and the inflight experience, as a demonstration flight has been arranged for by Kenya Airways for invited VIPs and a select group of media invitees, regularly reporting about KQ. Meanwhile has the arrival area, in particular the VIP pavilion, been decked out with national colours, befittingly only two days after the country celebrated its 48th Independence Day, giving Kenyans something to be truly proud of and showing East Africans what can be achieved by a good vision, a good strategy and a determined, and almost 100 percent homegrown management team.