Rwanda’s national airline RwandAir has ordered two Boeing 737-800s.
RwandAir’s 737-800s will feature the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior, which features bigger stowage bins that pivot up and out of the way, as well as sculpted side walls that draw attention to the windows. The new design creates a more open feel in the cabin with overhead lighting that resembles the sky, according to Boeing.
Based in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, the airline ― which was established on December 1, 2002 ― is renewing and expanding its fleet in order to broaden its network. RwandAir currently operates a fleet of two Bombardier CRJ200LR 50-seat regional jets (which it owns) and one Bombardier Dash 8-100 37-seat turboprop.
“Boeing’s Next-Generation 737-800s will enable us to eventually expand to regional hubs across Africa and the Middle East,” says John Mirenge, RwandAir’s chairman. “They will become the mainstay of our fleet.”
According to an article in the latest issue of Boeing’s house magazine Boeing Frontiers, Rwandair’s two new 737-800s are scheduled for delivery in 2011. In the interim, RwandAir is leasing two used 737-500s, one of which is due to come to the airline in May and the second in July, according to Wikipedia.
Today RwandAir operates flights between Kigali and neighboring nations, as well as to South Africa, a popular connecting point for long-haul flights. But as Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame looks to RwandAir to help boost the nation’s economic growth, the carrier will expand its schedule and network as it receives its 737s.
RwandAir plans to expand its connections with important regional business hubs such as Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos and Cairo, according to Rob Faye, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ sales director for Rwanda. Quoted in the Boeing Frontiers article, Faye says RwandAir also offers connecting flights to Europe, the Middle East and China through partner airlines, but eventually it wants to offer its own daily flights to and from Europe.
The airline’s new 737-800s will help expand the airline’s network to include potential direct flights to and from cities in North Africa and the Middle East, according to Boeing Frontiers.