Every week there is a different airline forum, exhibition or conference somewhere in the world and this week it is the Africa Routes Forum held in the expanding capital of Mali, Bamako. As Africa is personally one of favourite continents and corporately one of biggest selling regions we have take a close interest in the news coming out of this important gathering.
The top headline this week tells the story of RwandAir's expansion introducing an additional daily flight between Kigali and Nairobi as well as adding a fourth weekly rotation between Kigali and Johannesburg. The Rwandan carrier already operates two flights per day to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, but will add a third rotation, which will introduce an additional two banks of flights, providing passengers greater flexibility.
“Nairobi and Johannesburg are key hubs on the continent for travellers and we feel the need to give our guests more flexibility and options. We are experiencing increasing demands on both destinations hence our move to avail more seats,” said Alice Katiti, General Manager – Commercial, RwandAir, adding that its recently launched Kigali – Gisenyi domestic route will also increase from four to six flights per week.
Rwandair will further enhance its operations in August when it receives its first Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 with a second is due to follow in September.
Beneath this headline is the understanding that Rwandair is aiming to be become a major East African network carrier, connecting North and South Africa Gateway to regional East African cities. Many African carriers have got carried away trying to be domestic, regional and long haul airlines, often choosing expensive aircraft types to serve routes already well served via intermediary points and missing out on good opportunities nearer home. By choosing to develop strong links between major North (Nairobi) and South (Johannesburg) gateways and regional east African markets where they can dominate the competition, Rwandair seem to have chosen the right formula for significant growth over the next decade. Well done to a strong and focussed management team, well backed by a determined Government.