Minister explains why RwandAir ditched new airplane purchase plans

On 1 December 2020 at 09:41

The Minister of Infrastructure (MININFRA), Amb Claver Gatete has explained that Rwanda’s national flight carrier, RwandAir suspended the plan to buy a new airplane because existing ones are not fully operational due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Before COVID-19 pandemic, RwandAir had announced plan to buy four new aircrafts including two Airbus A330neo and two Boeing 737 Max 8 which has been suspended.

During a recent press briefing, Minister Gatete said that RwandAir cannot buy a new aircraft during COVID-19.

“Even existing aircrafts are not fully serving their purpose due to COVID-19. We have to wait until passengers can fly safely to expand activities. We cannot expand during this period,” he explained.

The new aircrafts were expected to be used for RwandAir’s flights to Guangzhou in China, New York in the United States, Dubai, Lagos, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

RwandAir management recently announced that flights have resumed at 70% in November 2020.

RwandAir currently uses various aircrafts including two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGen, four Boeing 737-800NG, two Bombardier Q-400 NextGen, one Airbus A330 – 300 and one Airbus A330 – 200.

In a bid to support RwandAir’s recovery from COVID-19, the Government of Rwanda increased the budget allocated to the carrier to Rwf 145,1 billion in the iscal year 2020/2021 from Rwf 121,8 of last year.

In February this year, Qatar Airways announced that discussions were ongoing to buy 49% shares in RwandaAir.

The deal is considered a great development to improve operations considering the reputation of Qatar Airways. The latter won four prestigious prizes at 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards, including the highest accolade of ‘World’s Best Airline’ – becoming the only airline in the competition’s history to win it five times (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019).

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced that aviation companies will earn US$419 billion this year from US$838 billion of last year.

The Minister of Infrastructure (MININFRA), Amb Claver Gatete has explained why RwandAir ditched new airplane purchase plan.