For RwandAir to be called a commercial airline, there is need to devise means for the airline to generate more revenue, the airline Board Chairman Girma Wake has said.
At the official handover ceremony between outgoing Chief Executive Officer John Mirenge and his successor, Colonel Chance Ndagano, Wake challenged the airline senior management team to upgrade RwandAir to commercial status by making enough money to run the national carrier.
“We need to generate enough revenue to run the airline. If you don’t do that, you are not running a commercial airline. It’s only commercial when it makes money. Until then, it’s still a baby,” he said.
Col. Ndagano told journalists that he joins the company determined to focus on training of personnel, acquiring new aircraft equipment and then make the profits.
For a start, he said, they will continue increasing the airline’s capability in terms of acquiring more assets, training pilots and technicians, building the airline maintenance capacity, expanding routes, both in Africa and the rest of the world.
“It takes some time but this is what will give us good returns and later we can start thinking about the business aspect,” Ndagano added. He acknowledged the competitiveness of the business but expressed optimism.
“We know this is a competitive business and there are other players but we are optimistic that RwandAir is going to grow and become even bigger,” he said.
Ndagano brings to RwandAir more than 20 years of experience in aviation business.
Mirenge has been at the helm of the national carrier for seven years. During his tenure, the company has grown its fleet to 11 flying to about 20 destinations. The airline recently launched direct flights to Mumbai with London scheduled for next month.
Other destinations include Harare, Lusaka and Johannesburg in the Southern African region; in East Africa; Entebbe, Nairobi, Mombasa, Juba, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Bujumbura. Brazzaville, Libreville, Douala, Lagos, Accra and Abidjan in West Africa and Dubai in the Gulf region.
This year, the airline plans to acquire its fourth Boeing 737-800NG and also to expand its wings to Bamako in Mali, Conakry in Guinea, Lilongwe in Malawi and New York.
Also incoming is Yvonne Manzi Makolo, who joins the company as the Deputy CEO in Charge of Corporate Affairs. She previously worked in MTN Rwanda as the Chief Marketing Officer. Makolo’s position is new and was created to separate Operations from Corporate functions. Lieutenant Colonel Silver Munyaneza takes over as the Deputy CEO in Charge of Operations.
Government Spokesperson and Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said RwandAir is growing rapidly and needs to scale up in various areas.
“RwandAir has reached a time of expansion and steady growth in its trajectory, where it needs state of the art expertise. Its esteemed passengers as well as the entire airline is going to experience a progressive upgrade.
“That’s how a new team is taking over top levels of management of the national airline, including a new position of Corporate Manager,” Mushikiwabo said.