RwandAir
IATA ICAO Callsign
WB RWD RWANDAIR
Founded1 December 2002; 21 years ago (2002-12-01)
Commenced operations27 April 2003; 20 years ago (2003-04-27)
Operating basesKigali International Airport
Cadjehoun Airport[1]
Kotoka International Airport[2]
Fleet size13
Destinations25[3]
Parent companyGovernment of Rwanda
HeadquartersKigali, Rwanda
Key people
Websiterwandair.com

RwandAir Limited is the flag carrier airline of Rwanda.[6] It operates domestic and international services to East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, from its main base at Kigali International Airport in Kigali.[7]

History

Incorporation

A former Rwandair Express Boeing 737-500
A former RwandAir Bombardier CRJ200LR

After the 1994 genocide, the government took several attempts to revive the former national carrier Air Rwanda that ceased operations during the genocide. Various private companies showed interest in partnering with the government, and Uganda-based SA Alliance Air ran the company from 1997 to 2000.[8] After SA Alliance ceased operations, the government of Rwanda took over the Rwandan operations and re-branded the airline, to ensure its continuity. RwandAir began operations on 1 December 2002 as the new national carrier for Rwanda under the name Rwandair Express (with passenger air transportation as the core activity). In 2016, RwandAir received International Air Transport Association's Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).[9]

Re-branding

The airline began to expand regionally and by 2009 the network included Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi, and domestic destinations such as Gisenyi. In March 2009, the airline registered the new trademark RwandAir Limited, which is its current operating name. In June 2009, the airline officially re-branded from Rwandair Express to RwandAir, because the new name implied a large, serious airline, while the "Express" in the former name implied a small regional operation.[10]

In May 2010, Rene Janata became the CEO, introducing a frequent flyer program and developing the airline to become a network carrier. In October 2010, John Mirenge became the new CEO of RwandAir.[11]

2010–2015

In July 2010, the first of RwandAir's new Boeing 737-500s arrived; the second one arrived on 20 October 2010. Both are leased from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and each has a two-class configuration with 12 business class seats and 90 economy class seats.[12]

In August 2011, the airline took delivery of their first aircraft purchased directly from an airline manufacturer. All prior aircraft operated by RwandAir had been either leased or bought as a second-hand aircraft. The aircraft that was purchased is a Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior, also known as the Boeing 737 Next Generation, and was the only one operating among African airlines. The flight departed from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, United States, at 5:30 PM PST. It made its first stop in Keflavík International Airport in Iceland, then it headed for a second stop to Istanbul, Turkey. It finally arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, after a 20-hour flight.[13]

In October 2011, RwandAir took delivery of their second Boeing Next Generation 737-800. During January 2012, the airline disposed of the two CRJ200 aircraft it owned, in anticipation of acquiring two CRJ-900NGs.[14]

In February 2013, John Mirenge announced that the airline would fly to Accra, Cape Town, Harare, Juba, and Zanzibar.[15]

In May 2015, RwandAir officially became an IATA member.[16]

2015 - present

In 2017, the Government of Benin granted RwandAir seventh freedom rights to operate direct flights from Benin. RwandAir plans to base two Boeing 737 aircraft at Cotonou International Airport in Benin.[17]

In February 2020, two months after Qatar Airways purchased a 60% stake in Rwanda's Bugesera International Airport,[18] the Qatari state-owned airline purchased a 49% stake in RwandAir.[19][20]

Flight Pass[21]

In 2019, RwandAir entered into a partnership with USA-based Optiontown to launch a prepaid flight subscription platform called Flight Pass, which enables customers to pre-purchase RwandAir flights at the best available price and decide when they want to travel at a later date.[22]

In September 2022, the airline's intentions in joining Oneworld, with a sponsorship from Qatar Airways, were announced.[23] This would make RwandAir the third airline to enter an airline alliance in East Africa, after Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance) and Kenya Airways (SkyTeam), and second African airline after Royal Air Maroc to join Oneworld.

Corporate affairs

Ownership and management

Rwandair is owned 100 percent by the Government of Rwanda.[24][25] As of May 2021, an agreement to sell a 49 percent stake to Qatar Airways is said to be in the final stages.[26][27]

The government hoped to privatise the airline after 2013, once it became profitable; the process had been abandoned in 2008 after it emerged that nobody at the time was willing to offer the amount expected from the sale.[28]

RwandAir's board of directors is responsible for ensuring that the airline follows a suitable corporate governance framework to ensure the creation and protection of value for the shareholder. Patricie Uwase is currently the Chairman of RwandAir since September 2021; the long-time aviation veteran Girma Wake was chairman from 2012 to 2017.[4] Yvonne Manzi Makolo is the current CEO, having been promoted from deputy CEO, in charge of Corporate Affairs, in April 2018. She replaced acting CEO Col. Chance Ndagano.[5]

Business trends

RwandAir has been loss-making for many years.

Full detailed accounts are rarely published, although intermittently some figures are made public by senior management or the government, or in government budgetary reports. Available trends are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover (FRw bn) 30
Turnover (US$ m) 47.2 81.4 95.3 99.9 126.0 171.3 221.6
Net profit before tax and grant (FRw bn) loss loss loss loss loss loss loss loss loss loss
Net profit before tax and grant (US$ m) loss loss loss loss 65.9 53.4 54.8 101.4 170.7 166.7
Government grant/subsidy received (FRw bn) 10.8 25.2 22.0 27.0 29.1 33.6 49.6 86.3 107.0 127.9
Government grant/subsidy received (US$ m) 54.2 28.5 56.3 53.8 98.1 111.1 143.2
Number of employees (at year end) 749 1360 1367 1692
Number of passengers (m) 0.13 0.20 0.36 0.41 0.50 0.60 0.59 0.89 1.14 1.17
Passenger load factor (%) 60 59 54 59 63
Number of aircraft (at year end) 8 8 8 8 8 12 12 12 12
Notes/sources [29][30] [29][31] [29][32]
[25][33]
[34]
[29][35] [29][36]
[37]
[38][39]
[36][40]
[41]
[42][43][24]
[44][24] [45][46][24] [47][48][24]
The head office is in the main building of Kigali International Airport

Head office

The airline has its head office on the top floor of the main building of Kigali International Airport in Kigali, Rwanda.[49][50] The airline previously had its head office in Centenary House in Kigali.[51] The airline began moving its operations from Centenary House to the airport on Friday 14 May 2010. The airline was scheduled to be moved in by Monday 17 May 2010.[50] At one previous point the airline had its head office in the Telcom House.[52]

Destinations

As of November 2023, the airline serves 21 countries on 36 routes.[3][53]

RwandAir serves the following destinations as of May 2023:[54] [55]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
 Belgium Brussels Brussels Airport [56][57]
 Benin Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport Hub [1]
 Burundi Bujumbura Bujumbura International Airport
 Cameroon Douala Douala International Airport
 China Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Terminated [58][59]
 Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa N'djili Airport
 Ethiopia Addis Ababa Addis Ababa Bole International Airport [60]
 France Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport [61]
 Gabon Libreville Léon-Mba International Airport
 Ghana Accra Kotoka International Airport
 Guinea Conakry Ahmed Sékou Touré International Airport
 India Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Terminated [62]
 Israel Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport Suspended [63][64]
 Ivory Coast Abidjan Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport
 Kenya Mombasa Moi International Airport
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
 Mali Bamako Bamako–Sénou International Airport
 Nigeria Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport
 Qatar Doha Hamad International Airport [65]
 Republic of the Congo Brazzaville Maya-Maya Airport
 Rwanda Bugesera Bugesera International Airport
Cyangugu Kamembe Airport
Kigali Kigali International Airport Hub
 Senegal Dakar Blaise Diagne International Airport
Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Terminated
 South Africa Cape Town Cape Town International Airport
Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport
 South Sudan Juba Juba International Airport
 Tanzania Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport
Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro International Airport
 Uganda Entebbe Entebbe International Airport
 United Arab Emirates Dubai Dubai International Airport
 United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport Terminated [66]
Heathrow Airport [66]
 Zambia Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
 Zimbabwe Harare Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport

Codeshare agreements

RwandAir codeshares with the following airlines:

Fleet

A RwandAir Airbus A330-200

The RwandAir fleet comprises the following aircraft as of July 2023:[72][73]

RwandAir fleet
Aircraft In
service
Orders Passengers Notes
B E+ E Total
Airbus A330-200 2 20 21 203 244
Airbus A330-300 1 30 21 223 274
Boeing 737-700[74] 1 12 108 120
Boeing 737-800 5 16 138 154
Bombardier CRJ900ER 2 7 68 75
De Havilland Dash 8-400 2 7 60 67 [75]
Cargo fleet
Boeing 737-800BCF 1 1 Cargo [76]
Total 14 1

Historical Fleet

Since its founding in 2002, RwandAir has operated the following aircraft:[77]

RwandAir historical fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 737-500 1 2003 2004 Leased from Maersk Air
3 2007 2013
Bombardier CRJ-200LR 3 2009 2012
De Havilland DHC-8-100 1 2010 2014
De Havilland DHC-8-200 2 2004 2009
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 3 2004 2007

References

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