Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) is set to join its regional rival Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) in transforming its B787s into makeshift freighters, Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka told Kenya's Business Daily Africa.

The Kenyan national carrier has already secured lessor approval to remove seats from two of its B787-8s. The conversion of the Boeing widebodies is due to be completed by year-end. Current plans only foresee the jets being reconfigured back into passenger carriers after a period of two years.

Kenya Airways used its B787-8s for cargo-only flights this year, but has so far refrained from removing their seats. Globally, the B787s have only been rarely converted into makeshift freighters. According to the Cargofacts database, the global fleet of makeshift Dreamliner freighters is currently limited to two B787-9s operated by Ethiopian Airlines and one -9 operated by LATAM Airlines (LA, Santiago de Chile Int'l).

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Kenya Airways currently operates nine B787-8s, including six owned units, two dry-leased from BOC Aviation, and one dry-leased from DAE Capital. After the conversion, the two B787-8s will join the airline's cargo fleet of two B737-300(F)s.