•Increases flight destinations
KANOMBE - Business at Kigali International airport came to a standstill yesterday as Rwandair’s CRJ200 50-seater aircraft touched the run-way, The New Times reports.
The new aircraft is one of the two purchased by the national carrier after it received $40 million loan from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA).
The Minister for Infrastructure, Vincent Karega, who officiated at the event referred to the new acquisition as yet “another achievement for Rwanda.”
“I am happy to be here to celebrate yet another achievement for Rwanda. It’s a great achievement from wet leasing and a great sign of the progress and commitment of our government,” he said.
He called for commitment and team work if any dividends are to be realised from the new venture.
“The success of Rwandair depends so much on you. Speed is key. Hygiene, happiness, customer care and team work should be at the forefront of everything,” Karega told the Rwandair staff.
Gerald Zirimwabagabo, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, told members of the media that in the next five years, Rwandair hopes to own a fleet of at least four aircrafts and lease at least two others.
Referring to the new aircraft, Zirimwabagabo said that his management was currently focusing on safety and service delivery.
Rwandair has been relying on wet leases from Jetlink and Dash8 which have both facilitated the national carrier with aircrafts and other services.
However, recently Rwandair terminated its contract with JetLink following the crash of one of the latter’s aircrafts at Kigali International Airport in which one passenger died.
With the acquisition of new aircrafts, Rwandair will increase the number of destinations to include Tanzania, where it will be flying to Dar el Salam and Arusha, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it will begin with flights to Goma and later Lubumbashi and eventually Kinshasa.
It also targets flying to Dubai in the Middle East.
Asked about when Rwandair would join the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Zirimwabagabo said that with the acquisition of the new aircrafts, the process to join would be over in an estimated three months.
Created over 60 years ago by a group of airlines, IATA is an international trade body, which represents 230 airlines from over 125 countries around the globe which constitutes 93 percent of international air traffic.
Rwandair began operations in December 2002 as the new national carrier (passenger air transportation as the core activity) with a concession to carry out airport ground handling at Kigali International airport.