RwandAir has revealed intentions to extend its flights to Europe and far ends in the Middle East, after acquiring Boeing 737-700 Next Generation (NG) aircraft which has a long range compared to already existing airplanes.
The aircraft, that landed yesterday at Kigali International Airport (KIA) from Germany, and was received by senior government officials as well as aviation officials, will replace the existing Boeing 737-500.
RwandAir expects the arrival of another Boeing 737-700 NG next month.
Speaking to The New Times at the event to receive the new airplane, John Mirenge, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RwandAir said the newly acquired aircrafts will replace the existing older version of the Boeing.
“The Boeing 737-700 NG is in the same range of the ones we acquired last year but the difference is that, it is slightly smaller compared to Boeing 737-800 NG. It is a 120 seater compared to the 154 seats of the 800 NG, but the other features are the same including the engine properties and the cabin,” he said.
Mirenge added that, the aircraft has a long range and can fly direct to south Europe without any stop over compared to the big 800 NG series.
RwandAir now boasts four Boeing Next Generation series and the institution is optimistic to move to greater heights in aviation industry.
The Boeing 737-700 has 12 business class seats and 108 seats in the economy class and has 28 more seats compared to the existing 737-500.
“It gives a better feeling and comfort to passengers, has entertainment options with bigger capacity.”
The CEO said that they are looking forward to acquiring new aircrafts next year that will replace the ones operating Bujumbura, Entebbe and Kamembe routes.
“The Boeing NG has boosted our operations because we are able to fly to Dubai on schedule and carry more people and baggage. It has moved us to the another level, we should now be aspiring to fly to Europe and far in the Middle East,” said Mirenge.
In addition, RwandAir plans to open new destinations to Accra, Ghana and Douala in Cameroon in the next few months, which would become the national flag carrier’s fourteenth and fifteenth destinations respectively.
Professor Silas Lwakabamba, the Minister of Infrastructure, said the Kigali International Airport is being expanded to handle more aircrafts.
“We are getting more airlines opening routes to Rwanda that is why we expanding KIA. We are also looking at building an international airport at Bugesera Airport in the near future,” he said.
Lwakabamba commended RwandAir for registering growth in the short period of time.