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RwandAir launches Airbus A330-200 with flight to Entebbe

RwandAir, the national flag carrier of the Rwanda has launched operations of its newly acquired Airbus A330-200. The aircraft, nicknamed Ubumwe, a local word to mean unity, left Toulouse, France this morning to Kigali, Rwanda via Entebbe International Airport.

Its crew headed by John Mirenge, the chief executive officer of RwandAir was met by Ugandan aviation authorities and diplomats from the embassy of Rwanda in Kampala. It later left for Kigali International Airport with more than 80 passengers on board.

The plane is the first of its kind in East Africa. It will have its first commercial flight to Dubai later this week.

The aircraft worth about $250m (Shs 837bn) is equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 772B engines and features a three class cabin layout with a total of 244 seats. These include 20 business class, 21 premium and 203 economy class seats, according to a statement issued by Rwanda Air. Its acquisition brings the airline’s total fleet to nine.

RwandaAir’s latest acquisition

“We have found the A330 to perfectly support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share,” CEO John Mirenge said in reference to Rwanda’s latest acquisition.

Rwanda is equally awaiting the delivery of a larger A330-300 airbus following a contract signed with airbus last year.  The larger airline will have a capacity of 274 seats. These include 30 business class, 21 premium seats and 223 economy class seats. This is due for delivery in November.

The flagship aircraft will be deployed on medium and long-haul routes serving destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. A statement released earlier indicates that RwandAir will commence long haul operations to Mumbai in December.

In 2014, RwandAir and the Eastern and Southern Africa Bank (PTA Bank) signed a financial line of credit, worth $160m (about Shs 536bn ) to support the purchase of the two airliners. Earlier in June, Ethiopian Airlines’ also launched its Airbus A350XWB ( the first of its kind in its fleet and in Sub-Saharan Africa) at Entebbe airport. 

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