African airline spreads its wings… again!

RwandAir, one of Africa’s fastest-growing airlines with the arguably youngest fleet on the continent, is set to spread its wings even further this year.

Airline sources have confirmed that following the delivery of RwandAir’s first Airbus A330-200 in September, a third Boeing B737-800NG will join the fleet in October.

A second Airbus A330, this one the larger -300 variant, is then expected to be delivered in November this year, before a fourth Boeing B737-800NG delivery in May 2017 will then complete the present orders.

At that stage, RwandAir’s fleet will have grown to 12 aircraft, though knowing the airline, this will only be an intermediate stage for further growth.

Rwanda’s national airline presently flies from its hub, Kigali – the airport is presently constructing a separate taxiway to allow for more flights – across the continent and beyond with destinations like Kamembe, its presently only domestic destination, Dubai, Lusaka and Johannesburg, Entebbe, Juba, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Brazzaville, Libreville, Douala, Lagos and Accra. Six more destinations are on the drawing board, led by Mumbai which is due to be served via Dar es Salaam but subject to traffic rights from the Tanzanian government being granted.

It is understood that the Rwandan government is exploring cooperation with the intent of creating a strategic partnership, and talks have been confirmed to go on with Ethiopian Airlines. RwandAir already works with Ethiopian in regard to pilot and engineering staff training at ET’s aviation academy in Addis Ababa, and has maintenance agreements in place under which part of the RwandAir fleet is being serviced in Addis Ababa at the Ethiopian Airlines Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility.

In a related development, it was also ascertained that the airline is due to have its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification renewed by February 29 which very likely will already include the enhanced audit version under International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) e-IOSA certification scheme, which would make RwandAir one of the first African airlines to accomplish that milestone step.