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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 05:36 GMT
Airline's sound safety record

a310 Kenya Airways has other Airbus A-310s in its fleet


Kenya Airways had an unblemished safety record until its Airbus A-310 crashed off Ivory Coast.

The airline says the crash represents its first accident since it was founded in 1977.

Company spokesman Koome Mwambia said: "Safety has always been our top priority and we shall be doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this tragic accident."

'Experienced pilot'

Kenya Airways technical director Steve Clarke said the Airbus had been bought new in October 1986.

"Thirteen years is really very young for a modern jet aircraft and they are maintained fully in compliance with regulatory authorities," he said.

He added that the plane was being flown by a very experienced pilot with "many, many hours" in command.

Officials say the airline has 10 aircraft in total - including three other Airbus A-310s similar to the one that crashed on Sunday. The carrier serves 25 destinations across Africa and also the Middle East, India and Europe.

The route of the doomed aircraft - from Nairobi via Abidjan to Lagos - was only introduced in June 1999.

Modernisation

It was only on Friday that Kenya Airways unveiled a $750m modernisation programme during which it intended to replace its Airbus fleet with new Boeing B737-700 aircraft.

"The investment programme ... will see additional new aircraft coming into the fleet as the airline's business grows and older aircraft are replaced as they reach the end of their economic life," the company said.

"Excellence in everything we do is necessary if we are to achieve our goal of being a world class network airline."

Flotation

Kenya Airways came into being following the demise of East African Airways which was jointly owned by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

It was wholly owned by the government until 1996 when it was privatised in what correspondents described as one of the most oversubscribed flotations in the history of the Nairobi stock exchange.

The Kenyan Government has retained a 23% stake in the airline, which it considers as its national carrier. The largest individual shareholder is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines which holds a 26% stake.

Together, the two airlines operate four flights a week from London to Nairobi, via Amsterdam.

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31 Jan 00 |  Africa
Kenyan crash survivors rescued

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