We pre­fer to ar­rive in Lon­don in the morn­ing so that our pas­sen­gers can con­nect eas­ily to other flights.”

The East African - - NEWS -

its fleet, while it con­sid­ers ac­quir­ing an Air­bus A321LR and Boe­ing 737-7 to op­er­ate on its Eu­ro­pean routes dur­ing off-peak sea­sons.

Ms Makolo said ad­di­tional air­craft will be pur­chased early and mid-2019, adding that one of the new planes will be de­ployed on the Ki­gali-tel Aviv route.

The two A330s are ex­pected to op­er­ate on the Ki­gali-new York route, prepa­ra­tions for which the air­line is fi­nal­is­ing.

The air­line plans to fly to 31 des­ti­na­tions in Africa, Asia, Europe and North Amer­ica. Other planned routes in­clude Ad­dis Ababa, Guangzhou and Con­akry.

In 2017, the air­line car­ried over 900,000 pas­sen­gers, a fig­ure ex­pected The air­line plans to fly to 31 des­ti­na­tions in Africa, Asia, Europe and North Amer­ica. Other planned routes in­clude Ad­dis Ababa, Guangzhou and Con­akry. Rwandair re­cently added Abuja and Cape Town to its routes and signed Basas with Togo, Ghana and An­gola. The air­line is also pur­su­ing a more favourable slot for the Ki­gali-gatwick route. It re­cently an­nounced that it will fly from Ki­gali to the US us­ing its West African hub of Ac­cra once it gets the fi­nal ap­proval. Rwandair CEO Yvonne Makolo to grow to 1.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2018.

Rwandair re­cently added Abuja and Cape Town to its routes and signed Basas with Togo, Ghana and An­gola.

The na­tional carrier’s two wide-body air­craft — one Air­bus A330-200 and one larger A330300 — recorded strong load fac­tors in 2018 on its first route to Europe from Ki­gali via Brussels to Lon­don’s Gatwick, but it plans to ad­dress this with the new air­craft this year, which will fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter fleet plan­ning.

“This year looks pos­i­tive there is al­ready growth in pas­sen­gers on the route,” the CEO said.

The air­line is also pur­su­ing a more favourable slot for the Ki­gali-gatwick route.

“We are en­gag­ing the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties so we can get bet­ter slots. We pre­fer to ar­rive in Lon­don in the morn­ing so that our pas­sen­gers can eas­ily con­nect to other flights,” she said.

Rwandair re­cently an­nounced that it will fly from Ki­gali to the US us­ing its West African hub of Ac­cra once it gets the fi­nal ap­proval from Amer­ica’s Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Agency. It se­cured ex­emp­tion au­thor­ity and a for­eign air carrier per­mit from the US De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion in May, but it is still work­ing on securing ap­provals from the US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“The plans to fly to the US and China are still on. It’s a long process, but we are try­ing to deal with all the bu­reau­cracy in­volved so we can get the per­mits, its pro­gress­ing well al­though we are not there yet,” said Ms Makolo.

The orig­i­nal plan was to start US flights by June, but this re­quired that all of the ap­provals be done by early Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary, but the CEO said she is not sure that ev­ery­thing will be com­pleted by then, al­though the June time­line still stands.

The US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion com­pleted its au­dit of the Ki­gali facility last year, but the as­sess­ment re­port will first have to be com­pleted be­fore any ma­jor an­nounce­ments are made.

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