After Ethiopia purchased Africa's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in August 2012, Kenya joined the league last week after the first of six Boeing Dreamliners was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday.
It was nicknamed 'The great Rift Valley' due to its massive size and unique features. The plane, first assembled in December 2009 at USA's Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner.
The dreamliner is by far the most fuel efficient plane manufactured by Boeing as it uses 20 per cent less fuel than today's similarly sized airplanes.
The electrical architecture of the airplane completely eliminates pneumatics and hydraulics from some subsystems, which Boeing says extracts 35 per cent less power from the engines, allowing increased thrust and improved fuel economy. The models have a capacity of 210-330 passengers.
The plane has special features not experienced in other planes like the windows which are more than 30 per cent larger than those on most similarly sized airplanes.
This gives the passengers a better view and at the same time they are saved the hustle of putting on and off their shades but instead they will just adjust the brightness of their windows by use of a button to have a better view.
The luggage bins overhead are also more spacious compared to other midsized airplanes ensuring the passenger's comfort and safety of their goods as well.
The 787 is the world's most technologically advanced airplane with composite materials (composites 50 per cent; aluminium 20 per cent; titanium 15 per cent; steel 10 per cent and others five per cent) making up to 50 per cent of the primary structure by weight, including the fuselage and wing.
The plane is environmental friendly as it's less noisy because it has external features that include raked wingtips and engine nacelles with noise-reducing serrated edges (chevrons).
The plane shares a common type rating with the larger 777 twin-jet, allowing qualified pilots to operate both models; due to related design features and this is good news for pilots who can still fly the 777 twin-jet.
Like other Boeing airliners, the 787 uses a yoke instead of a side-stick. Under consideration is future integration of forward looking infrared into the HUD for thermal sensing, allowing pilots to "see" through clouds.
The first 787 was officially delivered to All Nippon Airways on September 25, 2011, at Boeing's facilities in Everett, Washington. During the launch, President Uhuru said the delivery of the Dreamliner paves way for Kenya Airways to further deepen trade connections with the world, especially through long haul flights.
"I have no doubt; this will result in the growth of trade, tourism and other forms of interaction with the rest of the world," President Uhuru said. He said the government is committed to improving infrastructure so that other stakeholders like Kenya Airways can deliver quality services and play their part in growing the economy.
The delivery of 787s and 777-300ER airplanes is part of KQs ten year strategic plan called 'Project Mawingu'. The project will increase KQs fleet from 44 airplanes to 107 by 2021.