Rwandair cashes-in on KQ strike

KIGALI - Following a strike by employees of Kenya Airways (KQ), the National carrier Rwandair moved in fast to rescue Rwandans and other travellers destined or connecting to other flights, through Kigali International Airport.From Friday, Rwandair has been doing three or four flights between Kigali and Nairobi instead of the usual two; including  additional flights to Entebbe and Bujumbura ferrying stranded passengers from Kenyatta International Airport.“I wouldn’t say that this should be looked at entirely in terms of money, but we saw it necessary to ferry stranded passengers who may include tourists and businessmen as well as other people using Kigali to connect to other airports but of course passengers pay for the services,” said Amb. Gerald Zirimwabagabo, the Executive Chairman of Rwandair.
Passengers prepare to board a Rwandair aircraft at Kigali International Airport. The airliner has decided to rescue Kigali-bound passengers following a strike by Kenya Airways employees. (File Photo)
Passengers prepare to board a Rwandair aircraft at Kigali International Airport. The airliner has decided to rescue Kigali-bound passengers following a strike by Kenya Airways employees. (File Photo)

KIGALI - Following a strike by employees of Kenya Airways (KQ), the National carrier Rwandair moved in fast to rescue Rwandans and other travellers destined or connecting to other flights, through Kigali International Airport.

From Friday, Rwandair has been doing three or four flights between Kigali and Nairobi instead of the usual two; including  additional flights to Entebbe and Bujumbura ferrying stranded passengers from Kenyatta International Airport.

“I wouldn’t say that this should be looked at entirely in terms of money, but we saw it necessary to ferry stranded passengers who may include tourists and businessmen as well as other people using Kigali to connect to other airports but of course passengers pay for the services,” said Amb. Gerald Zirimwabagabo, the Executive Chairman of Rwandair.

It was reported that hundreds of Rwandan businessmen, travellers and tourists had been stranded in Nairobi, following the strike which started Friday and ended yesterday.

“To me it was a surprise because we all underestimated the capacity of Rwandair but what happened today gave me a different perspective in regard to customer care. I am happy to be home,” a passenger who preferred anonymity told The New Times.

According to Zirimwabagabo, Rwandair has a code share agreement with KQ and had an obligation to carry all KQ passengers.

“For example today (Sunday) we carried 150 KQ passengers from Kigali to Nairobi and 150 back as well as others who were supposed to connect to other flights like KLM, SN Brussels and others through KQ, we have been so busy for the last three days,” a ground official who preferred anonymity.

The national carrier has often come under criticism for not providing standard services.

The strike, according to the KQ country manager, was caused by demands from employees to have their salaries and other allowances increased.

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