RwandAir privatization will come


(eTN) The Rwandan national airline, RwandAir, is continuing to work towards achieving operational and financial status, which will allow the government to rekindle the search for a partner airline. This information was given last week by the chairman of the board of directors of RwandAir Mr. John Mirenge. The airline only very recently recruited a new CEO, Mr. Rene Janata, who previously held senior management positions with Germany’s Lufthansa – making it an interesting constellation when privatization efforts get underway again after two years of relative inactivity.

Lufthansa now owns a major share of Brussels Airlines (SN) and will soon decide to acquire a majority of the Belgian national airline’s shares. It was, in fact, SN which had put in a bid for RwandAir four years ago. This bid, however, was found wanting at the time, as the proposal was based on the introduction of BAE 146 aircraft, generally thought unsuitable for the operational altitudes of airports in the region with the added alleged sensitivity of the engines to dust and grit also giving cause for concern.

However, under the new constellation, the bid could be renewed, giving the Lufthansa group a base in the East African region through partner airline SN. RwandAir now has two CRJ200 aircraft flying, incidentally purchased from Lufthansa inclusive of maintenance support at the Kigali home base, setting the stage for financial and operational savings and improvements required before the Rwandan government will renew the search for a choice partner.