Rwanda’s national carrier-RwandAir yesterday received its latest acquisition, a Bombardier Q400 NextGen, which is set to boost its goals of expansion in the aviation business, flying the Rwandan dream across the continent.
The aircraft landed at Kigali International Airport after a low level fly past and was saluted by fire brigade traditional water cannon salute amidst traditional drumming and dances from before taking to a parking position outside the terminal.
The 67-seater aircraft was unveiled last week in Toronto, Canada. It will shortly commence commercial service and then make regular appearances in Kamembe, RwandAir’s only domestic destination, to Entebbe and Bujumbura and possibly reach regions like Juba, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.
The air craft was unveiled to Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, Minister for Finance Claver Gatete and RwandAir’s Board Chairman Girma Wade accompanied by its CEO, John Mirenge before the staff of RwandAir was able to get a first glimpse of the new aircraft.
CEO John Mirenge, said that this was a moment of pride and with the expansion to Douala where the first commercial flight will leave Kigali on 30th of March, Rwandair we will add Abidjan to its target this year and focus on new destinations like Luanda, Harare and Lusaka in 2015.
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.
Apparently, the government has boosted the airlines operations injecting funds from its bonds (worth $400 million) , to finance the ongoing modernization and expansion of the Kigali International Airport- which has a new departure lounge that will be five times more than the size of the previous facility – and set to be complete by July this year.
The Rwandan government was and continues to be instrumental in the airline’s future growth and part of the funds raised from a Eurobond (part of Rwf350 million) were 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.
The airline also serves one domestic destination at Kigali International airport, with many daily regional operations in cities such as Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, and Kilimanjaro
Future RwandAir projects are aimed at enlarging the network to new routes in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
RwandAir flies across the West African destinations of Accra, Libreville, Brazzaville, Lagos, and the addition of Douala as its 5th destination in the region makes their presence as a major competitor felt by all other airlines