Kenya Airways. Picture: REUTERS
Kenya Airways. Picture: REUTERS

Nairobi — Kenya Airways has revived plans to expand its network by proposing to buy as many as 10 Boeing 737 Max aircraft as part of a five-year strategy.

The move follows three consecutive years of losses caused by a poorly executed expansion strategy and fuel-hedging contracts that saw it miss out on rock-bottom oil prices.

The losses forced the company into austerity measures that included job cuts, a 15% fleet reduction and abandoning a valuable landing slot at London’s Heathrow airport.

"We’ve put out a proposal for 10 planes at the moment," chief operations officer Jan de Vegt said on Wednesday. "We will then have to take two to three years at least to introduce them. You have to train pilots."

Part-owned by Air France-KLM, Africa’s third-biggest carrier has 40 aircraft, with which it services mainly routes on the continent. That includes two Boeing 787 Dreamliners and three Boeing 777-300 aircraft that are sub-leased to Oman Air Transport and Turkish Airlines, respectively. KQ, as Kenya Airways is known, intends to take them back between September this year and December 2019.

It cut its full-year losses to 10.2-billion shillings ($101m) in 2017, from a record 26.2-billion ($260m) shillings a year earlier.