Will RwandAir Be The Next Big African Airline?

Will RwandAir Be The Next Big African Airline?

There has been some impressive growth in African aviation in recent years. Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways have seen significant expansion, and Rwanda-based RwandAir could be on its way to something similar. It is still early days, but RwandAir has already seen some solid expansion, and with investment from Middle Eastern giant Qatar Airways, the sky could be the limit. It is certainly an airline to watch over the coming years. RwandAir has been the airline of Rwanda since 2002. Photo: Getty Images State-owned development of the airline

RwandAir is the state-owned national airline of Rwanda. It followed on from the previous national airline, Air Rwanda. This airline was founded in 1975 and operated a limited network of passenger and cargo flights domestically and regionally. Domestic service ceased in 1994 during the Rwandan civil war.

International service was taken over by Uganda-based Alliance Air, with a 49% stake in the newly formed Alliance Express Rwanda. The Rwandan government maintained a majority holding. Air Rwanda operated one Boeing 707 aircraft. Photo: Clinton Groves via Wikimedia Alliance Air ceased operations in October 2000, and South African Airways took over the operation of the Rwandan subsidiary. This continued until 2002 when it passed back to full government control and ownership as the new airline Rwandair Express. In 2009 it was re-branded as RwandAir.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests. Growing its fleet and operations

In its first few years, RwandAir operated just a small domestic and regional network, with leased and secondhand aircraft. According to fleet data obtained from AeroTransport Data Bank ( ATDB.aero ), its early aircraft included the DC-8s, 737-300, and the Dash 8.

It introduced the Bombardier CRJ200 in 2009, with two aircraft coming from Lufthansa. They stayed with the airline until 2012 when the airline purchased new CRJ900 aircraft. It also stuck with Bombardier and added the Q400 ( Dash 8 ) in 2013. As it expanded, Rwandir added several new aircraft, including the Bombardier Q400 / Dash 8. Photo: Bombardier The airline took on two leased 737-500s in 2010. And in August 2011, it took ownership of its first new aircraft, a 737-800. It added a second new 737-800 later the same year and two further leased new aircraft in 2016 and 2017. The airline is not alone in choosing the 737-800. It is the most sold of all 737 variants – popular […]

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