Flights to Harare, Zimbabwe by RwandAir will promote trade, investment and tourism between the two countries, experts and private sector players have said. The national carrier launched the flights with its B737-800NG WB110 airplane that took off from Kigali International Airport to Harare at exactly 9.25am yesterday morning.
The maiden flight had 56 passengers onboard and landed at Harare International Airport at 13:40 Zimbabwe time, according to RwandAir officials. The Kigali-Harare route brings to 21 the routes operated by RwandAir, and means that Rwandans travelling to the southern nation will no longer have to worry about connecting flights.
The airline will fly to Harare four times a week, with flights tagged to the existing Lusaka, Zambia route operated daily, officials said.
According to Allen Dukunde, a Kigali-based businesswoman, the flights to Harare will ease costs and promote trade.
“We are delighted to enable new and seamless connections between more African cities and beyond the continent. This, we believe, will create more business opportunities and boost the various countries’ socio-economic development,” said John Mirenge, the RwandAir chief executive officer. This week, the national carrier started direct flights to Mumbai, India.
The new routes are part of the airline’s plan to spread its wings both on the continent and other global markets.
More long-haul flights in the offing
Meanwhile, RwandAir is expected to make its maiden flight to London, the UK on May 26 and later launch flights to Guangzhou in China and New York in the United States.
Last year, the airline acquired its first A330-200 and A330-300 Airbus planes, boosting its fleet to 11 aircraft and capacity to compete globally.
The airline carried more than 650,000 passengers last year and projects to ferry over three million in the next five years.
The airline is IATA Operational Safety Audit certified. Other destinations served by RwandAir include Cotonou, Abidjan, Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Lusaka, Juba, Douala, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Libreville and Brazzaville.