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Chief Operations Officer Let Go

Changes at the helm of RwandAir

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Mar 22, 2010

Major changes are continuing at the top of RwandAir’s management, with the latest departure being the company’s COO (chief operations officer) Capt. Jack Eck, who reportedly was "sacked" last week.

Eck was, for a brief period, acting CEO, when former CEO and chairman of the board, Ambassador Gerald Zirimwabagabo, left the airline at the end of last year in another surprise move.

At that time, the government then appointed Mr. John Milenge as chairman of the board of directors, who soon afterwards also stepped in as CEO, with Capt. Eck then returning to his full-time COO job.

None of the regular contacts would be drawn into discussing the reasons for all these changes, but indications are that although the airline now flies profitably with a fleet of newly-acquired CRJs, other financial issues beset their former managers, including botched subcontracted charter arrangements with a South African airline to fly Rwandan troops and supplies to Darfur, which led to a loss of nearly half a million US dollars after the South Africans "disappeared" with only a handful of flights operated. Efforts are underway to recover the payments made through courts and arbitration platforms.

The airline was also due to acquire a B737-800 by the middle of 2010, while the acquisition of a B767 was also on the drawing board, but these expansion plans may now remain on hold for some time until the internals of the company have been sorted out first. Network expansion, with the present fleet, is ongoing, however, this correspondent was assured by a source in Kigali, although other surrounding issues may now need to be re-assessed once again before previously-made decisions and commitments are either reconfirmed or changed.

Changes at the helm of RwandAir
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