....As airline receives second Boeing 737-800 aircraft
The national carrier, RwandAir, is set to introduce direct flights to Lagos, Nigeria before the end of the year as the carrier took delivery of a second Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aeroplane with Sky Interior.
With a seating capacity of 154 passengers, the delivery of the second plane will also facilitate the carrier to add more frequencies to the Dubai route. The airline has been operating three flights a week on the route.
The airline acquired the two state-of-art aircrafts after securing a loan facility of US$60m (Rwf35.7b) from the PTA-Bank.
John Mirenge, RwandAir CEO, said that the region is short of capacity and with a fleet of seven aircrafts; the carrier will add more routes across the region and more destinations.
“The industry forecast has maintained a very positive outlook for aviation on the continent and RwandAir is positioning itself to be part of this growth and can only do that if we develop a formidable fleet composition that will give us a competitive advantage,” Mirenge noted.
He noted that since the acquisition of two Boeing 737-500s planes and the first Boeing 737-800, the carrier has registered a growth in passenger numbers.
“We have managed to airlift 20,000 passengers per month compared to 15,000 target we had set ourselves,” he said.
He added that with the growing number of flyer value and fleet acquisition, RwandAir is set to break even in the next five years.
The airline boss also disclosed that the carrier plans to own and operate a combined fleet of 18 aircrafts by 2020 as they pres forward with fleet expansion plans and growth path at large.
“We will remain largely a regional carrier with carefully selected intercontinental destinations,” he observed.
The Minister of State in Charge of Transport, Alexis Nzahabwanimana, said the government considers RwandAir as a key investment driver for the national economy hence its keen interest on the national carrier.
“Our agenda is to not only to get Rwanda reliably connected with the rest of the world, but we are focusing all our energies on making the country as attractive as possible in terms of tourism and investment,” he said.
The national carrier began its operations in 2002 as RwandAir Express operating one leased aircraft, with only three destinations.
In 2009, the airline rebranded to RwandAir (WB). It currently operates 12 destinations with a total fleet of seven aircrafts that include two Boeing 737-800s, two Boeing 737-500s, two CRJ200 and a Dash8-100.