RwandAir Acquires New Aircraft, Begins Flights to London

John McDermott

RwandAir's new 737-800 Next Generation. Source: IGIHE.com

RwandAir, Rwanda’s national carrier, has received a new Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft. The new plane increases the African carrier’s fleet size to twelve. Allafrica.com reports that the new plane will departed Seattle last Sunday on a flight bound for Kigali International Airport (KGL)

This new aircraft has multiple features that will benefit RwandAir in terms of finance and carrying  capability. The new plane comes with new in-flight wifi, and is one of the carrier’s most fuel efficient aircraft. It will allow RwandAir to fly more passengers and open more destinations, including new routes to Conakry in Guinea Bissau, Bamako in Mali, and Dakar in Senegal.

Soon after flying their new aircraft, RwandAir began new direct flights to London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). The flight is the first between London and KGL, and only the second linking Europe to the African destination. It is currently served by RwandAir’s A330-200 in a Business, Premium Economy, and Economy class seating arrangement. The flight time is only 8 hours 40 minutes, and flights from England to Rwanda start at £368.

A RwandAir A330-200. This aircraft flew RwandAir’s first flight to London.
Source: The New Times | Rwanda

“We are very proud to launch this very important direct flight between the UK and Rwanda. British travelers are among the top five nationalities to visit Rwanda and this service will allow even easier access to the many natural wonders and unique experiences available throughout our beautiful country,” said RwandAir Deputy CEO Yvonne Makolo. “This new route will also improve already strong trade links between the UK and Rwanda creating new long-lasting business opportunities.”

“I am delighted to welcome RwandAir to Gatwick and look forward to what I am sure will be a very popular service,” said Stephen King, Gatwick Airport’s Head of Airline Relations. “Rwanda is rapidly becoming a top leisure destination for those looking to experience the adventure of a lifetime in the heart of Africa, while business passengers can use the new service to forge stronger links between our two countries.”

H.E. Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner of Rwanda; Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir’s deputy CEO; and Stephen King, Gatwick’s Head of Airline Relations pose after RwandAir’s first flight from Kigali landed at Gatwick.
Source: anna.aero

The new route adds to Gatwick’s impressive list of connections. The airport, which holds the world record for most passengers served by a single-runway airport, has over 50 long-haul international connections.

“This exciting new route demonstrates just how far Gatwick’s long haul network has grown in recent years. We now offer well over 50 long hauls routes across the globe – a claim few other international airports can make,” said King.

A deal with Wirecard Group, a European payment processing firm, will allow Rwandair passengers to book flights on this new route faster and more easily. RwandAir will fly to LGW three times per week.

RwandAir served 650,000 passengers last year. They hope to carry at least 3 million in the next three years.

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