National carrier, RwandAir, said yesterday that its passenger numbers increased by 6,000 in the period between April and June from 20,000 at the same period last year.
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, John Mirenge, told Business Times in an interview that the 233.3 per cent growth was aided by the acquisition of new aeroplanes since last year as well as the company’s teamwork.
“In terms of monthly passenger numbers the national carrier has been carrying, it has recorded a steady 20 per cent growth every month and we are expecting the numbers to grow further after the delivery of new fleet this year,” Mirenge noted.
The national carrier will acquire two Boeing 737- 800s jets from Boeing Commercial Airplanes this August and September.
“With the new Boeing 737-800s, we project to get more possibilities in terms of more destinations to serve,” he added.
The airline also plans to open up new routes in West Africa, upgrade the Dubai route with by deploying the new planes, provision of more cargo and sitting capacity, hence attracting more customers, he explained.
The CEO disclosed that by beginning of next year, the airline plans to open-up operations to Nigeria.
“We have invested close to $US90 million (Rwf53.3 billion) in acquiring these aeroplanes. Part of this money came from a loan we got from Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank),” he said, further noting that, the airline secured a $US60 million (Rwf35.5 billion) loan to boost its growth prospects.
The national carrier is currently under a 10 year program which is divided into five year business plans.
“Through the shareholders, we managed to pay some money before to cover the last bit of the loan,” Mirenge added.
The loan agreement, which was granted last year, was designed to help the airline to acquire a fleet of at least seven planes by 2012 including the purchase of two 737-800 planes from Boeing.
Currently, RwandAir operates a fleet of two CRJ-200s, two Boeing 737-500 and a Dash-8 planes which serve 12 destinations.