The Rwandan national airline took delivery earlier in the week of their first “owned” CRJ200 jet, purchased together with a second such aircraft some months ago from Germany’s Lufthansa.
The arrival of the aircraft in Kigali this past Tuesday will mark a milestone in the airline’s development and is in line with the implementation of their strategic plan, which aims at owning rather than wet leasing and will permit a subsequent expansion of both frequencies and their network.
Some years ago, the airline actively sought a partner in order to grow, but when no serious bids came forward, the board changed direction and began work on a new strategy aimed at developing their own strengths and cooperating with suitable airlines, bringing value to RwandAir’s operations. This resulted in a recent codeshare with Brussels Airlines allowing RwandAir to sell tickets on the shared flight between Kigali and Belgium.
Both of the Bombardier CRJ200 planes come with a spare part package and maintenance support from Lufthansa Technik, giving reassurance in regard of flight safety.
When the second aircraft arrives, the airline will resume their full schedule as published for the winter season, which was in a rather variable state since RwandAir terminated their wet lease of similar aircraft with Kenyan airline Jetlink a few weeks ago.
It was also confirmed that RwandAir is seeking to add a larger jet to their fleet in early 2010 to give them greater flexibility in serving high density routes, most likely a B737NG-type aircraft. In a related development, the airline also confirmed that it will seek full membership in IATA, beginning the process early next year.
A ceremony was held at the Kanombe International Airport by RwandAir, and general airport workers and staff of other airlines on duty also joined the celebrations.