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Rwandair ups fleet as it targets more destinations

By Philip Mwakio | December 16th 2014

Rwanda's national carrier, Rwandair is to increase its fleet to 11 aircrafts and fly to 25 destinations by 2017. Chief Executive John Mirenge said the move will boost the country's vision of growing its aviation industry.

"RwandAir clearly fits 100 per cent into that vision of the New Rwanda, the Government, together with the people of Rwanda has developed over the past years," the chief executive said.

He was speaking after receiving the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit certificate from the Vice President for Africa Raphael Kuchi in Kigali last week. Mr Mirenge attributed the certificate to the support by the Government of Rwanda, hard work and dedication of staff.

Leased aircraft

He said IATA safety audit for ground operations will assure passengers of safe operations when using the handling services at Kigali's International Airport. The airline currently operates a fleet of five-owned and two leased aircrafts. Rwandair had announced earlier during the the launch of destination 16, in Mwanza, Tanzania that two new aircrafts will join the fleet over the next 12 to 18 months.

Mirenge affirmed that a second new Bombardier Q400NextGen will be delivered during the first couple of months of next year, followed later in that year or in early 2016 by a third new Boeing B737-800NG Skyinterior - bringing the number of aircrafts operated to nine.

They will cater for a network across Eastern, Southern and Western Africa to then feed into the planned long haul operations to be launched in the 2017/18 financial year, when two Boeing B787 Dreamliners will arrive in Kigali.

Mr Mirenge said Lusaka, Zambia will be the airline's next destination, after the South African Civil Aviation Authority granted it the rights between Lusaka and Johannesburg. This makes flights from Kigali to Lusaka viable by combining the routing and serving two destinations. There are yet to be confirmed reports of Rwandair flying into Harare, Zimbabwe, next year.

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