Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair has signed contracts with two Rwandan pilots ahead of the arrival of its two 50 sitter CRJ200 aircrafts by the end December 2009, Management said on Tuesday.
The airline also said that it is in negotiations with Boeing for the acquisition of a 737, 800s aircraft with capacity to carry between 130 and 160 passengers.
The deal is expected to materialise by mid 2011, the company said.
Rwandair has been relying on pilots provided by Jetlink and Dash8 through wet leases that also facilitated the national carrier with aircrafts and other services.
However, recently Rwandair terminated its contract with JetLink following the latter’s aircraft crash on November 12, 2009 at Kigali International Airport in which one passenger died. Rwandair had wet-leased two CRJ 200 (50 sitter) planes from JetLink.
Gerald Zirimwabagabo, Rwandair’s CEO said this is the first time the company is hiring Rwandan pilots.
Management will also hire five more pilots by January next year as the airline targets to acquire two used aircrafts in 2010 before the arrival of the Boeing 737, 800s.
John Mugisha and Jean Paul Muvunyi are the two Rwandan pilots that have been hired.
Zirimwabagabo also explained that after the crash, Rwandair continued its operations through a short-term wet lease contract with a Dash 8 aircraft. The company is also utilising the code share agreements it has with SN Brussels, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian airways to transport its passengers.
He also explained that in the national carrier’s five year business plan, they are projecting to have a minimum of six aircrafts.
John Mugisha, who has been a practicing pilot in Texas, US, said that he is pleased to return in Rwanda.
“I am very glad to be flying for Rwandair now. I used to fly for AirRwanda before I joined Kenyan Chartered Company. I have been flying for the past seventeen years,” Jean Paul Muvunyi said.