Engine problems at Kenya Airways: Dreamliner on ground

Boeing 787-8 (Photo: Alf van Beem).
Boeing 787-8 (Photo: Alf van Beem).

Engine problems at Kenya Airways: Dreamliner on ground

Boeing 787-8 (Photo: Alf van Beem).
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Kenya Airways was forced to suspend its flights on May 19, 2024 due to engine problems on two of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The affected aircraft had to remain on the ground, which led to significant delays and flight cancellations. However, the airline expects to resume normal operations today, May 21.

Kenya Airways said the disruptions were mainly caused by delayed deliveries of engines and engine components. Two of its Boeing 787-8s had to be grounded unplanned due to these delays, resulting in “unusually large” delays. In addition to the engine problems, the flight schedule was further impacted by the unavailability of flight crew on certain regional routes, forcing the airline to adjust its route networks and schedules and cancel some flights.

The airline apologized to the affected passengers and stressed that the safety and well-being of customers and crew was its top priority. Kenya Airways assured that all possible measures are being taken to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Historical problems and operational challenges

The latest problems are not the first that Kenya Airways has had to deal with in recent months. There were already significant disruptions in December last year as the airline struggled to source spare parts for its aircraft during the busy Christmas period. In April this year, Kenya Airways was also affected by the floods in Nairobi, which also affected flight operations.

According to CH-Aviation.com, Kenya Airways has a fleet of nine Boeing 787-8s with GEnx-1B70 engines. From May 2024, the airline will operate these wide-body aircraft from its hub at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) to ten international destinations including New York JFK, London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Johannesburg OR Tambo.

Current fleet status and future plans

Of the nine Dreamliners in the fleet, two aircraft are currently inactive due to maintenance work. The aircraft, registration 5Y-KZE, completed its last flight on February 4, 2024 from Amsterdam to Nairobi and has been undergoing maintenance since then. Another aircraft, 5Y-KZB, operated its final flight from New York to Nairobi on May 11, 2024. The remaining seven Dreamliners remain in active service.

To increase capacity during maintenance, Kenya Airways has leased an Airbus A330. In addition, the airline resumed flights to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on May 8. These flights had been suspended since April 30 after two airline employees were unlawfully detained by military intelligence in Kinshasa. The detention was allegedly due to missing customs documents for valuable cargo that was to be transported. However, Kenya Airways stated that the cargo was not on board. After the crew was released, flights resumed.

future prospects

Kenya Airways is working hard to restore operational stability and minimize future disruptions. The experiences of the last few months have shown that the airline must react flexibly to unforeseen events, be it due to technical problems, weather-related influences or political events. The airline's strategy includes not only maintaining and renewing the fleet, but also ensuring the availability of spare parts and training the crew for different scenarios.

Overall, Kenya Airways remains committed to meeting the high demands of its international customers while overcoming operational challenges. The rapid response to the recent engine problems and the measures taken to minimize the impact demonstrate the airline's commitment to ensuring the reliability and safety of its services.

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Editor of this article:

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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About the editor

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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