RwandAir’s new bird comes home to roost

BRAND NEW BOMBARDIER Q400 NEXTGEN JOINS RWANDAIR FLEET IN KIGALI

(Posted 04th March 2014)

Rwanda enjoyed another proud moment yesterday when national airline RwandAir flew in their latest acquisition, a Bombardier Q400 NextGen. After a low level flypast did the aircraft land to the traditional water cannon salute from Kigali International Airport’s fire brigade before taxiing to a parking position just outside the terminal where traditional drummers and dancers were joined by the RwandAir team of board members, the airline’s top management and staff, representatives of manufacturer Bombardier and the invited guests, to see the new bird close up and personal.

After the ferry crew of 4 captains emerged from the plane to the applause of the gathered crowd, were the invited guests treated to walk through the 67 seater plane, which more than doubles the capacity of the present Bombardier Dash 8 – 200 while adding a business class section of 7 seats, finally ensuring uniform cabin standards of both business and economy on all aircraft of the fleet.

The new aircraft will shortly commence commercial service and then make regular appearances in Kamembe, RwandAir’s only domestic destination, to Entebbe and Bujumbura but also has the reach to serve for instance Juba, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.

The Guest of Honour, Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba was joined by his cabinet colleague the Minister for Finance Claver Gatete and Board Chairman Girma Wade to be shown through the new plane by a beaming CEO John Mirenge before the staff of RwandAir was able to get a first glimpse of the new aircraft. Rwanda’s government was and continues to be instrumental for the airline’s future growth and part of the funds raised from a Eurobond last year were in fact dedicated to help finance the acquisition of new aircraft, clearly demonstrating the country’s commitment to create an airline hub in Kigali and connecting the African continent from East to South to West – and to Dubai for that matter.

RwandAir now operates 7 new aircraft, 2 B737-800NG, 2 B737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen and now the Q400 NextGen, which makes it the operator of one of the youngest fleets in Africa. ‘After the launch of Douala [the
first commercial flight will leave Kigali on 30th of March] we will still add Abidjan this year and are then looking at new destinations like Luanda, Harare and Lusaka for 2015’ said CEO John Mirenge to this correspondent.

He also expressed his satisfaction about the ongoing modernization and expansion of the Kigali International Airport – the new departure lounge is more than five times the size of the previous facility – and was confident that between May and July this year the work would be completed. He added that the airport is ready for further growth of the fleet which is anticipated for 2015, and will easily accommodate the added number of passengers arriving in Kigali, departing from Kigali and transiting through Kigali, as in particular transit traffic has become the backbone of growth for the RwandAir.

For more information about RwandAir visit www.rwandair.com.

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