The national carrier, RwandAir, is set to replace its two 50 seater CRJ200s with brand new Regional Jets, a top official has confirmed to The New Times.
A Regional jet is described as a range of short to medium-haul turbofan powered aircraft, normally with capacity to carry between 70 and 100 passengers.
The carrier’s Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager, Michael Otieno, told The New Times in a phone interview that RwandAir has reached an agreement to sell the two CRJs to a buyer willing to take delivery of the planes immediately.
The two CRJ200s were purchased in 2009 at the start of RwandAir’s fleet acquisition process.
However, Otieno declined to disclose the amount and the airline acquiring the two CRJs.
“We cannot disclose those details at the moment, but it’s an African airline that is acquiring the two aircrafts,” he explained.
The national carrier is replacing the two aircrafts to respond to the growing demand in the region and growth in passenger numbers.
The aircrafts have been serving three hour radius of Kigali flights. Otieno said that the yet to be acquired Regional Jets will be serving a four hour range.
“We have seen the regional market grow and we feel this market and the demand it presents will be better served by an aircraft with between 70 – 110 seating capacity,” reads part of a statement from RwandAir.
“The airline is actively engaging suppliers of regional jet aircraft for at least two jets to be delivered by mid 2012,
“Having found a ready buyer, it was imperative that we immediately strike the deal and remove the equipment from our fleet. Effectively, we have also made adjustments on our schedule to proportionately accommodate our operations to match the equipment we are left with until the new regional jets are delivered”, he added.
Otieno noted that RwandAir is in contact with Regional Jet manufacturers for possible delivery of the two planes.
He however declined to disclose the amount the national carrier will invest to bring in the two jets.
In the meantime, all flights will now be operated on the carrier’s Boeing jets except destinations served by the Dash8-100 until the delivery of the regional jets.
Flights to Lagos, Dubai, Johannesburg, Libreville and Brazzaville will operate without any changes in frequencies; however, flights to Nairobi will reduce to twice a day instead of three times.
That Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam will now have four frequencies a week as opposed to five.
Entebbe meanwhile has received a major boost with up to 19 frequencies a week. The airline has also effected a fifth freedom operation between Bujumbura and Nairobi.
RwandAir’s fleet is now made up of two Next Generation Boeing 737- 800s, two Boeing 737- 500s, and a Dash8-100 prior to the acquisition of the two Regional Jets.