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A first for East African aviation

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Sep 27, 2016

The latest Airbus A330-200 is headed for its new home of “Land of a Thousand Hills,” as Rwanda is affectionately known among her friends around the world.

Registered as 9XR-WN is the first of two A330s join RwandAir’s fleet on Wednesday morning in front of probably hundreds of invited guests as well as thousands of Rwandan crowding the perimeter fence to catch a glimpse of “Ubumwe” as this first aircraft of this type has been named.

Already, the timelines of RwandAir's social media pages are overflowing with excited comments as they await this national symbol of pride to touch down.

The formal delivery ceremony will go underway at 1900 hours local time later this Tuesday, the same time incidentally as back home in Rwanda, with Airbus' Executive Vice President Europe - Africa and Pacific, Mr. Christopher Buckley, first takes to the podium.

After an address by Rolls Royce's Jacqueline Sutton, it will then be RwandAir's CEO, Mr. John Mirenge's turn to address the invited guests before the traditional handover of commemorative gifts. The Rwandan Ambassador to France will then, on behalf of the Rwandan government, make his remarks to the guests at the venue. Only then will the curtain be lifted and the new aircraft be seen in public for the first time.

Takeoff is set for 0100 hours (a.m.) on Wednesday after which the aircraft will first head to Entebbe, where RwandAir will showcase the new bird to travel agents, corporate clients, and the local media, before then heading home to what will no doubt be a hero's welcome.

The Airbus A330 is the world's most successful wide-body plane with a market share of nearly 67 percent, completely outranking the competition. Presently underway is the final stage of the development of an A330Neo, which will be equipped with new, more powerful and yet more economic engines besides other improvements to add to the arguably best cost ratio in the business.

In a related development, the official launch flight to Cotonou took place last weekend, ahead of the launch of commercial flights to yet another West African destination, Abidjan, which is due to commence in early October, while Harare will come on line in January 2017.

The date for the launch of services from Kigali to Mumbai and Guangzhou is expected to be announced shortly.

A first for East African aviation



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