RwandAir – where innovation is at the heart of things


(Posted 19th November 2017)


(Interior of the new business class bus service to and
from the aircraft, an African first for RwandAir)

Ten years ago, when the airline was still called Rwandair Express, did the company not own a single plane and their leased aircraft were acquired from other airlines on wet leases.
Today does RwandAir, as the airline is now called, own most of their aircraft and the few on lease were contracted through reputable global players and delivered directly from the manufacturers.
Back then would Rwandair Express serve just a handful of routes whereas today are 22 destinations on the RwandAir map, served out of Kigali.

Back then was looking beyond Eastern Africa perhaps only a wild dream but today does RwandAir not only comprehensively connect East, West and Southern Africa but also serves Dubai, Mumbai, Brussels and London, the latter two destinations with WiFi equipped and state of the art cabin layout Airbus A330’s.
RwandAir remains the only African airline to offer in their wide body fleet a dedicated Premium Economy Class with deep recline / extendable footrest seats and is the only airline in Africa to offer WiFi on Boeing B737-800 aircraft, something no other African airline does as yet.


(RwandAir’s Premium Economy Class layout on their Airbus 330 fleet)

The management of some of the other airlines in Africa must have been truly bewildered to see a few years ago a hitherto almost unknown startup grow in leaps and bounds and become the aviation force it is today.
The first to fly Boeing’s B737-800 SkyInterior, then certified by IATA under the organization’s operational safety audit (#IOSA) as well as safe ground operations (#ISAGO) has RwandAir taken aim at multiple such achievements and succeeded in each and every case. A dedicated frequent Flyer Programme – Dream Miles – rewards customer loyalty and RwandAir’s online check-in is now as easy as it can be.

Now has RwandAir broken new ground yet again when the airline introduced a dedicated bus for business class passengers, shuttling them from the terminal building to the waiting aircraft and vice versa – notably do even the Bombardier Q400 turboprops offer C/J, again unlike most other airlines which simple operate such smaller planes in an all economy configuration.


(Elaborate seat comfort in the Business Class transit bus)

Comments overheard from business class passengers on other airlines operating in the region have often harshly critiqued the absence of such a service, when, after being given priority treatment all the way this then goes AWOL when it comes to the use of busses to reach their aircraft parked in the distance or after disembarking reach the terminal.
Grumbles followed grumbles – feedback or action by the respective airlines is yet to be heard about or seen – over that kind of omission and especially passengers who have sampled the dedicated bus service by for instance Qatar Airways in Doha know that it is not only possible but adds further value after spending at times a multiple of the fare others pay and are yet transported on the same bus.
It is obvious that RwandAir has now put into place a value addition chain for their premium passengers which offers greater convenience, shorter ways and status recognition throughout the journey.
This scenario was completed when a dedicated security checkpoint for business class passengers was opened at the international airport in Kigali, allowing business class passengers to bypass the often long lines at the two main security checkpoints at Kigali’s departure level.

Innovation and value additions, very notable also in the case of inflight catering, have put RwandAir in pole position to expand their passenger base and complete the move from a former point to point airline into the network hub airline it is today.
With several recent flights added to my logbook and several more lined up in coming days, how can one ever justify NOT flying with RwandAir when their flights serve one’s final destination and often on the most direct route instead of an hour or two detours, both outbound and inbound Kigali.

For more information click on