Rwandair eyes India market

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Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair has announced plans to start direct flights from Rwanda to India with effect from September this year.

Rwandair says that passengers will be able to fly from Kigali to Mumbai in seven hours with some stopovers to be made in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Clarence Fernades, the Rwanda development Board official in India said that there are many Indians living in Tanzania, who need direct flights and the company plans on increasing the connectivity between Africa and Asia.

“This will connect the Indians in the East African region especially Tanzania which is home of most Indians living in Africa” Fernades said.

Fernades also stated that the company plans on increasing the number of passengers per flight to 274 thereby upgrading spacious and better planes such as the A330-300 model.

With an improved fleet of planes in 2015, Rwandair has set an ambitious target of expanding its services throughout the continent and become the top flyer in Africa.

Moving from single-aisle fleet of seven to nine aircraft, the company is building up feed ahead of the anticipated launch of 787 operations in 2017.

Last year, the carrier replaced 737-500s with 737-700s and Dash 8-200s with Dash 8-Q400s. The carrier, which now operates a modern fleet with an average age of only four years, earlier replaced CRJ200s with CRJ900s and added 737-800s.

The Rwanda government is supporting the ambitious expansion with hope of it will eventually lead to the growth of local economy especially that of the capital, Kigali.

Transit passengers already account for about 40% of Rwandair’s traffic and the airline sees an opportunity to further boost sixth freedom traffic as well as potentially add more fifth freedom routes.