RwandAir now launches Entebbe-Nairobi direct flight

The national carrier, RwandAir, on Thursday started operating direct flights between Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya, one of East Africa’s busiest routes.
Uganda's Transport minister Eng. Abraham Byandala admires a gift presented to him by Mirenge (right) at Entebbe International Airport. Centre is Patricia Ntale, Uganda's Miss Tourism .
Uganda's Transport minister Eng. Abraham Byandala admires a gift presented to him by Mirenge (right) at Entebbe International Airport. Centre is Patricia Ntale, Uganda's Miss Tourism .

The national carrier, RwandAir, on Thursday started operating direct flights between Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya, one of East Africa’s busiest routes.

This is the first time the national carrier is operating the route after RwandAir acquired the fifth freedom rights from the governments of Uganda and Kenya.

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Ephraim Murenzi, Rwanda's Acting High Commissioner to Kenya poses for a photo with Alice Katiti, the RwandAir Senior Regional Manager and Wivine Binagwaho, Kenya's Rwandair manager

The development also follows a recent bilateral agreement between Rwanda and Kenya, allowing RwandAir and Kenya Airways fifth freedom rights between the Entebbe-Nairobi and Entebbe-Kigali routes.

“Travellers should be assured of the quality of aircraft, quality of service, affordability and punctuality with which we shall run this route,” RwandAir CEO John Mirenge told reporters at Entebbe International Airport.

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Gobena Mikael, the RwandAir General Manager, Commercial speaks during the launch in Nairobi.

The entry of RwandAir on this route brings in tight competition especially since Kenya Airways, the region’s biggest carrier had dominated the route for a longtime.

 “This is an opportunity to offer choices between Nairobi and Entebbe. We are adding value to this route because competition promotes efficiency and value for money,” he said.

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RwandAir CEO John Milenge with Uganda's Transport Minister Eng. Byandala

Mirenge said the connectivity will lead to economic development, adding that they have plans to begin more routes like Entebbe – Dar es Salaam, Entebbe – Bujumbura, and Entebbe – Johannesburg.

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Frank Mugambage reiterated government’s commitment to supporting the national carrier.

He said increased air transport  will help promote trade and tourism sectors.

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RwandAir CEO hands over a gift to Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda Frank Mugambage.

Filling the gap

Last year, RwandAir was granted similar rights to operate direct flights on the Entebbe-Juba (South Sudan) route following the suspension of Air Uganda’s licence by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority.

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Alice-Katiti, the RwandAir Senior Regional Manager (C) and Ada Mugenyi the RwandAir Sales Manager in Uganda pose for a photo with Uganda's Miss Tourism Patricia Ntale and other RwandAir travellers.

Uganda’s Transport minister Eng. Abraham Byandala said that with the suspension of Air Uganda, the operations of RwandAir on the route came as a huge relief to Ugandans who make daily trips to Nairobi.

“Regional integration is on course and we are starting to work as one country. We encourage businesses to follow suit,” Byandala said.

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The RwandAir Corporate and Strategic Planning Manager Eng. Fred Mupende Nsoro speaks during the launching ceremony in Nairobi.

On the possible resumption of the defunct Uganda Airlines, the minister said there were efforts to identify a private company that will run the airline.

According to Gobena Mikael, the RwandAir general manager, Commercial, the route will be operated by state-of-the-art Next Generation dual class Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft which guarantees safety and great comfort, especially on such short haul routes.

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Passengers aboard the state of the art Next Generation dual class Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. (All photos by Gashegu Muramira)

With a promotional fare of $250, Mikael said flights are scheduled to depart at 9am from Entebbe and, at 9pm, from Nairobi, primarily catering for the demands of business and the short stay travellers.

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