Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F lands in Kenya for the first time
26 degrees, blazing sunshine, hardly a cloud in the sky: perfect weather in Nairobi. Nobody could have picked a better date for christening an aircraft. When Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F touched down on Kenyan soil for the first time on 11 March, the party at the capital’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was already in full swing. A crowd of over 100 guests had gathered to welcome the new flagship of the German cargo airline. African drumbeats throbbed in the air, flags were eagerly flying. Two fire engines approached on the apron and welcomed the Triple Seven in style with two huge water jets. Kenyan Massai guided the aircraft further to its parking position, and Captain Marc Peuker waved a Kenyan flag from the cockpit window.
The B777F cannot complain of a lack of attention on the African continent. On a stop in Johannesburg the B777F was welcomed by numerous guests and staff members of Lufthansa Cargo. And fans have been joining the celebrations worldwide: both on Lufthansa Cargo’s Facebook page and on that of Lufthansa Passage the “Jambo Kenya” post was one of the most successful of all times.
Never before in their career had the pilots experienced such a welcome as that awaiting them on leaving the plane in Nairobi: rapturous cheers, musical performances and opulently set tables: in other words, the “full monty”.
The big fanfare demonstrated one thing, above all: genuine joy and a deep affection for Lufthansa. And that’s no coincidence. The German cargo airline has been cooperating very closely with Kenya for decades. Lufthansa already flew to Nairobi in the 1960s. Today the group’s cargo subsidiary offers four flights a week to the Kenyan capital. In 1998 Lufthansa Cargo helped with planning and construction of the Kenya Airways freight terminal in Nairobi and also has close ties with the station thanks to its social commitment. The charity organization Cargo Human Care e. V. was founded in 2007 by staff members of Lufthansa Cargo and German doctors. The relief project provides fast and efficient help for people who are ill or in need through direct medical support in Nairobi, giving orphans a chance for a better future. „Lufthansa Cargo has demonstrated an on-going commitment to Kenya over the course of many years”, said Lufthansa Cargo Station Manager Ivo Seehann. “The German carrier is well-known for its quality, service and commitment in this country.”
For this reason the aircraft with the registration D-ALFB will be known as “Jambo Kenya” – in English: “Hello Kenya” – all over the world in future and fly in Lufthansa Cargo’s global route network as an ambassador of the African country. The christening ceremony for the 63 meter long cargo machine took place right there on the apron. “The decision to christen the Triple Seven ‘Jambo Kenya’ is a sign of the growing friendship between the two countries”, declared Andreas Peschke, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kenya, in his christening speech. Professor Mutuma Mugambi, Chairman of the Kenya Airports Authority emphasized: “Lufthansa Cargo has demonstrated its trust in Kenya’s economy. We will continue to support the cargo airline at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.” Hermann Zunker, Director Africa, also paid tribute in his welcoming speech to the long-running commitment of the Lufthansa Group in Kenya and thanked the numerous customers, above all, for their loyalty and cooperation.
The designation “Jambo Kenya” was sourced through an award-winning open creative competition organized by Lufthansa Cargo to find a name for its entire fleet before the arrival of the B777Fs. From the over 40,000 potential names collected over a space of six weeks the jury with the participation of Lufthansa Cargo’s board of management opted for the concept “Say hello around the world.”
Three of the total of five ordered Boeing 777F cargo aircraft are already being flown by Lufthansa Cargo. The maiden flight of “Good Day, USA” to New York and Atlanta took place on 19 November. “Ni Hao, China” then followed suit this February. The new aircraft boasts lower noise, emission and fuel consumption levels than any other freighter of its class. With a full payload of 103 tons the freighter can remain in the air for ten and a half hours. This means a non-stop capacity of over 9,000 kilometers, so that Lufthansa Cargo can travel with a full payload non-stop from Frankfurt to Shanghai, for example. The “Triple Seven” will be operating daily flights to the Chinese metropolis as of late March.