RWANDAIR TAKES DELIVERY OF SECOND B737-700NG
(Posted 28th June 2013)
Yesterday afternoon saw another addition to RwandAir’s growing fleet arrive in Kigali, when the second B737-700NG landed at the international airport. The aircraft, formerly operated by TUIFly of Germany and only about 6 years old, brings to a close the replacement exercise of the more aged B737-500’s which RwandAir had leased from GECAS during the past several years. Both of these aircraft are now being prepared to return to the leasing company in the United States. The new aircraft carried a load of donated equipment and gifts, collected in Germany by friends of Rwanda and well wishers, as part of the delivery flight which took off from Hannover / Germany.
RwandAir now operates four B 737NG’s, two brand new -800 ‘birds’ acquired from Boeing in late 2011 and now two fairly new – 700 types. The commonalities of the two however allow cockpit and cabin crew to fly on both types of aircraft without further type certification as can the ground engineers equally maintain both aircraft types as a result of the identical technical features.
RwandAir also operates two brand new Bombardier CRJ900NextGen, which arrived only very recently, while an order for a Bombardier turboprop aircraft, a state of the art Q400 type, is awaiting delivery in November this year.
The national airline of Rwanda earlier this month commenced flights from Kigali, via Lagos, to Accra / Ghana, to where it now operates 5 times a week. Flights to Douala are also due to start soon, expanding RwandAir’s presence in West Africa, from where traffic to Eastern Africa and to Dubai – WB flies daily from Kigali to Dubai – can now connect with ease in Kigali. Another new destination already confirmed is South Sudan’s capital of Juba, to where the inaugural flight is expected to take off in August this year.
RwandAir has as a result of the growth in destinations been able to record a massive increase in passengers, many of whom now fly beyond Kigali with what has been termed as one of Africa’s fastest growing airlines. During a recent inaugural flight to Accra, a senior member of the RwandAir team said: ‘We are an example that airlines in Africa, especially national airlines, can actually grow and prosper by purchasing brand new aircraft. Many people abroad think African airlines use only old ramshackle aircraft. RwandAir has shown that the use of new aircraft is important for expansion and growth. Our government backs us, our people back us and we have been accepted as an important player in African aviation. When we get our B787’s and the new airport opens, we want to be the airline of choice to connect Africa through Kigali’.
Both the airline’s top management and even President Paul Kagame have in the past made it clear, that when the time is right RwandAir will seek a strategic investor to partner with, a move expected to go underway in a few years’ time, when the airline’s operations have consolidated and when WB is expected to turn profitable.
While RwandAir has expressed no preference towards any of the three main global airline alliances as yet, it codeshares with Brussels Airlines on the route to the European capital – SN being a member of Star Alliance – but has also signed a close cooperation agreement with regional giant Kenya Airways, which is part of SkyTeam.
Interesting times ahead for RwandAir no doubt, but for now it is happy landings for the new aircraft, its crews and passengers. Visit www.rwandair.com for more details on the airline’s current destinations, schedules and bookings.