RWANDAIR ENTERS NEW PHASE OF EXPANSION AS FIRST CRJ900NG ARRIVES
(Picture courtesy of Bombardier / RwandAir’s CEO John Mirenge cutting the tape in Montreal)
Kigali’s international airport came alive to the sound of drums when the first of two, and potentially four CRJ900NG aircraft arrived in Rwanda, The Land of a Thousand Hills.
RwandAir is the first African airline to purchase, and use, one of the most economical short and medium range jets from the Bombardier CRJ family, setting another continental first in the aviation industry.
The second such aircraft will arrive within the next two weeks, then bringing the RwandAir fleet again to 7 aircraft, 2 owned B737-800, 2 leased B737-500 and 1 Bombardier Dash 8-100.
The two options are likely to be exercised when the leases for the 2 leased B737-500 expire next year, although there is growing speculation that as a result of the ongoing roll out of the airline’s 10 year strategy for growth by that time additional aircraft orders might be announced.
Unlike many other airlines in the region has RwandAir opted to purchase state of the art modern aircraft, which keep operation expenses down while at the same time instilling a feeling or pride and sense of ownership in the Rwandan public as well as give confidence to passengers from across the African and Middle East network.
The new jets offer a dual class configuration of 7 business class seats in a 2×1 layout and 68 economy class seats in a 2x layout, ideal for the short and medium distances RwandAir presently flies to.
Bombardier also has a long foot in the door at RwandAir to eventually replace the leased Dash 8-100 with a more advanced and larger Q400, which is now also available in a dual class configuration – the first type of which only got delivered to Ethiopian Airlines a few weeks ago.
A regular source close to RwandAir confirmed yesterday that the airline is on course to increase frequencies to key destinations in the region and across the network and expand from the presently 14 destinations over the coming months, as it builds on its success of connecting Africa through Kigali as a new but fast emerging hub. Watch this space for breaking aviation news from the East African region.