By Victor Shalton
Kenya Airways Outlines its Innovative Strategy, Commits to Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking
COVID-19 pandemic hit the aviation industry hard. Though for many airlines recovery plans are a key priority, innovations and technologies are still on the agenda.
Kenya Airways PLC (KQ), through its fully owned subsidiary Fahari Aviation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Embraer’s Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions (“Eve”) to develop operational models for the wide-accessibility of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to support Fahari Aviation’s key markets.
The partnership will establish the co-creation of a foundation of concepts and procedures to safely scale electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
“We are thrilled to partner with Kenya Airways to provide new forms of air mobility throughout the region for both people and goods. The creation of disruptive and widely accessible Urban Air Mobility solutions will help democratize mobility by making it more accessible, affordable and giving communities more options.”
“This partnership will foster long-term mobility strategies throughout the country and region. With our aircraft and aerospace services backing and Kenya Airways’ innovative approach to air mobility, we are enthusiastic about opening this region to more sustainable and community-friendly air access for all,” said Andre Stein, President & CEO of Eve.
“Partnerships are vital in mapping out the future of our airline, something which the global crisis has reinforced. Innovation is a critical element of our long-term sustainability. Fahari Aviation is at the forefront of exploring advanced technologies, with a key focus in aviation, starting with drone technology. With this partnership, we look to develop innovative air mobility solutions for our clients in Kenya and throughout the region,” stated Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways.
Fahari Aviation is the Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) division of Kenya Airways that promotes safe and secure UAS usage in the region.
The pioneering start-up innovation hub launched in July 8, also seeks to bring together entrepreneurs and innovators to share their insights and visions for sustainability, engineering and customer experience objectives to accelerate impactful solutions to some of the aviation industry’s business challenges.
The Eve partnership will help in establishing Fahari Aviation UAM network and collaborate on the required Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) procedures and UAM operating environment.
By delivering a robust strategy to provide Fahari Aviation’s passengers with a sustainable, accessible, and affordable transportation option, it is estimated that using UAM from the airport to downtown, EVA can reduce conventional road trips by up to 90% turning an hour and a half ride into a 6-minute flight.
Fahari Aviation on the other hand will support Eve’s aircraft and product development process which will help guide the integration of UAM with Kenya Airways’ overall operations. Eve’s fully electric aircraft is designed to be accessible to all while being a community-friendly aircraft with a low noise signature and no emissions while drastically cutting road travel time.
Meanwhile KQ continues with its momentum of activities with a new partnership with USAID’s Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) in increasing its commitment as a signatory to the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration to protect endangered species from illegal trade and transportation.
On 12 August, World Elephant Day 2021, alongside ROUTES, Kenya Airways helped raise awareness, build capacity and strengthen solutions to help stop the trafficking of wildlife.
Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer, Allan Kilavuka said, “The demand for exotic ornaments, traditional medicines, pets, and fashion that sees wildlife poached for a profit is threatening Kenya’s sustainable source of tourism income. The country also acts as a significant transit point in illegal wildlife smuggling routes. Tackling the trafficking, therefore, provides hope in protecting elephants and economic gains made from tourism not only for Kenya but other nations across the continent as well.”
Kenya’s economy is highly dependent on ecotourism, with wildlife lovers and adventurers traveling from across the globe for a sighting of a leopard lounging on a tree branch or elephants playing at the watering hole.
Airline operations can lend an important opportunity to detect and report wildlife trafficking attempts, as, it is estimated that 55 African Elephants are poached every day.
“A successful response to wildlife trafficking requires concerted efforts across a range of stakeholders throughout the transportation industry. We’re delighted to see Kenya Airways spreading this message proactively in their new video and encouraged by the steps they’re taking to help stop this trade,” said Crawford Allan, ROUTES lead.
As part of the campaign, KQ and ROUTES have produced an educative video responding to the ROUTES Partnership and United For Wildlife ‘Step Up to Stop Wildlife Trafficking Campaign’. The campaign encourages airports, airlines, and associations to boost their efforts to combat wildlife trafficking through various awareness-raising and staff training activities.
Africa’s #BigFive are just some of the incredible species of #Kenya’s natural heritage, providing vital tourism income. Together with our #Partners, we exercise zero-tolerance for the illegal trafficking of wildlife @ROUTESPartners @IATA #ItDoesntFlyWithUs #WorldElephantDay2021 pic.twitter.com/FmwoPIFK11
— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) August 12, 2021
In 2016, Kenya Airways signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration, acting against wildlife trafficking through transport systems. The recent history of Kenya’s elephant numbers provides hope.
Since instigating a crackdown on poaching in the country, Kenya has seen its elephant population numbers double over the last 30 years – a promising encouragement for other countries where poaching remains a dire threat to elephants.
The ROUTES Partnership supports the transport sector by providing targeted data analytics, empowering personnel with the necessary tools and information to be a part of the solution, raising awareness among clients and staff and ultimately embedding solutions within existing company policies that help stop the trafficking of wildlife.