Kenya Airways sells its only Heathrow slot

News has emerged that it was Kenya Airways who sold Oman Air its prized early morning slot at London Heathrow. Initially it was reported that Oman Air acquired the slot from the Air France/KLM Group.

The slot in question raised the record sum of US$75 million (see news, February 25, 2016).

Kenya’s national airline is in dire financial straits. And its falling passenger numbers have obliged it to reduce capacity.

It has raised cash both from the slot sale and by trimming its fleet.

Its new B777-300ERs, which were serving London until last September, (see Tried & Tested, July 11, 2015) have found a home at Turkish Airlines while two of its factory-fresh B787s have been leased to Oman Air.

But Kenya Airways is not quitting London’s premier airport.

How? Because according to local media, Kenya Airways will lease (rather than own outright) its Heathrow slot from KLM (with 26 per cent shareholding in Kenya Airways).

It means that Kenya Airways will (once the new slot times take affect) be paying KLM a fee every time its B787 lands and takes off from Heathrow.

Kenya Airways new slot times come into effect later this month.

Currently both Nairobi-London and London-Nairobi flights operate to overnight timings with the aircraft spending all day on the ground at Heathrow.

But revised schedules from March 27 mean the airline will operate a daylight flight to London returning overnight to Nairobi.

This will call for a slick 2 hrs and 10 mins turnaround at Heathrow.

The daily flight is operated by a B787 but inbound timings will not be so popular with business people as the latter prefer overnight services.

Revised timings:
KQ100 Nairobi-London Heathrow 0915-1615
KQ101 London Heathrow-Nairobi 1825-0500 (next day)

Alex McWhirter 





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  • I thought of Oman air the minute i read of the schedule changes at kq.
    It’s very sad that an airline that was doing so well suddenly took a nose dive. Bad management.

    Their AMS morning flight tends to be rather empty so the new LHR won’t be such a major success. How much KLM has its foot in this is sth that will probably be revealed in the coming weeks.
    The sentiment against KLM in kenyan media seems to be rather bad. But it’s interesting to read how KLM apparently has the major say over kq’s route and fleet management/Planning while owning only 26% of the airline. Looks like KLM is in the process of being thrown out/Bought out of kq.

    Will kq stay in Skyteam or is this the golden chance for Oneworld to get a partner in Africa that has some traction?

  • business users may prefer overnights – I do in J class with a flat bed – but for the leisure traveller down the back, day flights are much nicer

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