KIGALI - RwandAir has acquired a new CEO by the names of Rene Janata. The German national, described as ‘a seasoned man with over 20 years of experience in the airline industry was unveiled yesterday at the national carrier’s offices by John Mirenge, the chairman of the board.
Addressing the press shortly after announcing the new CEO, Mirenge said that as part of a major restructuring process, the airline sought an experienced person in the airline business.
Prior to his new appointment, Janata was working with the Germany airline, Lufthansa as the e-project manager under the marketing department.
“For the last 3 months or so we have been looking for a qualified person to occupy the position of the CEO and over a month and half ago we agreed with Mr. Janata who now takes over from May 1,” Mirenge said.
“Having started his career with Lufthansa where he has been working, he comes with a lot of experience, of over 20 years, in sales, customer service, systems---and as you know, airlines are about systems, if you don’t have systems then you don’t run an airline.”
Mirenge added that Janata was selected as the best candidate to do the job since he has been serving as the senior e-project manager for Lufthansa, the biggest carrier in Europe.
“As you might be aware, government took a strategic decision way back to build RwandAir into an efficient well managed airline which every Rwandan should be proud of,” Mirenge said.
As part of the process to overhaul the carrier, Mirenge said, the company has embarked on a plan to boost its fleet and hire more experienced technical personnel who will add value to the company.
On top of acquiring two new CRJ-200 aircrafts last year, RwandAir has signed an agreement with the world’s largest aircraft leaser General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GESAC) for two Boeing 737-500 aircrafts which will be delivered by June.
Janata, who has worked with several airlines in developed and developing nations including Colombia, promised that he will continue streamlining the airline into one of the most efficient operators.
He said his first task will be to work with a group of people coming in to help in the restructuring process as recommended by a company audit conducted in March.
“In the next 6 months we have a clear strategy--we have a clear vision for the next 3 to 6 months. First of all we want to improve customer service and increase our customers,” Janata said.
“We want to improve online services with a new website and an online engine that will allow customers to book tickets online and use their credit cards. People will be booking business class tickets once the Boeing comes in. We will also work on a VIP lounge.”
The airline is now set to relocate its head offices to the airport and according to Mirenge it is part of the plan to make the airline function in a more efficient manner.
“Beyond this being cost effective, the convenience and the practicality of being where your operations are is everything for airlines. That is how it is done in other parts of the world,” Mirenge said.
“You need to be there to see how the airline is operating, how the customers are being handled, the delays and all that. You need to be there and see everything as it happens.”