RwandAir’s new Brussels-Paris-Kigali route opens horizons to Africa and beyond

By Karirima A. Ngarambe
On 7 June 2024 at 02:47

RwandAir marks 12 months of successful operations since launching its direct route connecting Kigali, Rwanda to Brussels, Belgium, and on to Paris, France, before returning to Kigali. This route is served by a modern A330-300 aircraft with a capacity of 274 passengers, including 30 in Business class, 21 in Premium class, and 223 in Economy class.

RwandAir flies this route three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The return flights from Paris to Kigali depart Paris at 3:30 pm and arrive in Kigali at 6:00 am the next day.

During the launch of the first flight to Paris in June 2023, Yvonne Makolo, the CEO of RwandAir, highlighted the importance of this new milestone for the company and for the relations between France and Rwanda.

She stated, "This new route is of great importance to RwandAir and to Rwanda, as it connects Rwanda to the rest of Africa and to France. It is a long-term project that we have worked on in collaboration with various partners."

Makolo also indicated that this route constitutes an excellent market, efficiently connecting Africa and Europe, with Kigali as the central hub.

This destination complements the other routes already operated by RwandAir, thus offering travelers from Paris the opportunity to continue their journey to other African countries via Kigali.

RwandAir does not just transport passengers; it plays a crucial role in connecting people, families, and various activities.

Passengers also benefit from the tourism opportunities offered by Kigali, thus contributing to the local economy through the purchase of products and services.

On May 28, 2024, IGIHE reporter Karirima Ngarambe met with passengers on board the RwandAir flight on this route to evaluate the evolution of this service a year after its launch.

The passengers, predominantly Africans, expressed their pride in traveling with RwandAir, highlighting the quality of service and the cleanliness of the aircraft, comparable to other airlines.

A Rwandan passenger stated, "This is the fruit of good governance; boarding the Rwandan airline’s plane, it feels like being at home. When I arrive in Paris from America, I take RwandAir, and I feel like I’m already in Rwanda as soon as I board and greet the people in Kinyarwanda."

RwandAir uses modern and spacious aircraft, ensuring optimal comfort for all passengers, regardless of their travel class.

The multilingual staff, proficient in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, provide quality service to all passengers.

Three factors encourage travelers to choose this route: the excellent services of RwandAir, the time saved on stopovers, and the possibility of resting in a hotel offered by RwandAir if necessary. For example, a flight from Paris to Kigali can quickly continue to Cotonou, Benin, avoiding long waits (a maximum of 45 minutes for the stopover).

RwandAir flights are in high demand, with load factors consistently between 85% and 100%. Since operating with only 12 aircraft in 2017, RwandAir transported 765,000 passengers. In 2024, with an expanded fleet of 14 planes, they anticipate carrying around 1.1 million passengers.

The company continues to expand its operations, serving more than 28 destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

In 2021, an agreement with Qatar Airways added 65 Arab destinations to its network, with direct flights from Kigali to Doha.

In addition to passengers, RwandAir also focuses on cargo. In late 2022, it acquired a Boeing B737-800SF freighter, capable of transporting at least 23,904 tons, thus meeting the growing demand for freight transportation.

In the coming years, with the completion of the Bugesera International Airport, RwandAir plans to multiply its flights by five. This airport is expected to accommodate 8.2 million passengers and 150,000 tons of cargo per year in its first phase, with its capacity doubling in the long term.

Passengers queue to complete their travel formalities before boarding the RwandAir flight.
Passengers complete check-in procedures in Brussels before continuing to Paris and then heading to Kigali on their RwandAir flight.
IGIHE journalist Karirima Ngarambe in a conversation with passengers in Brussels
IGIHE journalist Karirima Ngarambe preparing to travel from Brussels to Paris, before heading to Kigali.
RwandAir passengers enjoy excellent service, including carefully prepared meals
One of the RwandAir passengers enjoys his meal during the Paris-Kigali flight
Arrival at Kigali International Airport
On RwandAir, as on other airlines of this caliber, assistance is provided to disabled individuals, the ill, or anyone else with special needs during the journey
Over the past three years, RwandAir has continued to expand its operations. At Kanombe airport, you can now see several other planes serving various destinations.
Several leaders expressed their joy in welcoming RwandAir to France during the launch of the first flight to Paris
Antoine Anfré, Ambassador of France to Rwanda, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, and François Nkurikiyimfura, Ambassador of Rwanda to France, officially launched the Kigali-Paris route
RwandAir's representative in Belgium, Gashumba Charles Damascène, converses with the guests who came to celebrate RwandAir's inaugural flight to Paris.
Photo showcasing RwandAir at the annual ITB exhibition in Berlin, Germany
ITB Berlin is the world's leading travel trade show. Organized by Messe Berlin GmbH, it takes place every March at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

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