Final touches are presently being put on the first of two Bombardier CRJ900 NG aircraft, ordered by RwandAir six months ago to replace two CRJ200 jets which have since been sold to a West African airline.
The new, state of the art aircraft, incidentally the first in Africa, is due to leave the Bombardier assembly plant and will be flown via Gander, Keflavik, Bologna and Aswan to Kigali, where the aircraft is expected on Monday 22nd October.
Local and regional media are already gearing up for this event, which will signal another major milestone for Rwanda’s national airline, not based on hype but on vision and performance.
The airline has over the past two years progressively moved from a simple point to point carrier to transform into a network carrier, now offering almost seamless connections via Kigali from Johannesburg to Lagos, Libreville, Brazzaville to Dubai, and inbetween to Entebbe, Bujumbura, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam. The domestic network of RwandAir includes Kamembe and Gisenyi.
When the first, and within the space of two week the second brand new jet has joined the existing fleet of 2 B737-800’s, 2 B737-500’s and one Bombardier Dash 8-100, the airline will immediately add more frequencies to regional destinations, as well as to South and West Africa, with Dubai then also moving to daily flights.
The airline, with full support of the Rwanda government, is expected to convert the two options for additional CRJ900 NG into firm orders, as it moves to the anticipated delivery of at least two B787 Dreamliners by about 2016, when the new airport in Bugesera outside Kigali is also expected to become operational.