Until now, air freight played only the second fiddle for the Rwandan national carrier. This results in the carrier’s fleet structure, comprising of rather small passenger aircraft with very limited lower deck capacity for transporting shipments. However, things will change for the better next year, announces Rwandair's CEO Patrick Manzi in a meeting with CargoForwarder Global.
Today, Rwandair only operates narrow body aircraft like Bombardier Q400s, Canadairjets or Boeing 737s but this era will end in 2016, when Rwanda's national carrier gets two A330 jetliners for
long-haul flights. They are the first ever wide body aircraft operated by the airline, says CEO Patrick Manzi.
Flying to Europe and China
Which routes they'll serve he doesn't reveal yet, pointing at market studies that are under way. However, it is no secret that Rwandair intends to add a Chinese and also a European destination. Patrick doesn't go further into detail at this point of time, excusing his tight lip behavior with the studies that are still under way.
The only out of Africa route in Rwandair's present network is Kigali-Dubai that's flown daily either as nonstop service or with a stopover in Mombasa.
Promising home market
The domestic Rwandan cargo market he describes as promising. The local economy is growing, producing foodstuff, meat, dairy products and other perishables together with raw materials and some consumer good. Conversely, Rwanda imports construction material and equipment, household goods, textiles and machinery parts.
Open skies is the key for Rwandair
Touching the open skies issue and liberalization of air traffic in Africa or at least in some region of the continent, he strongly advocates fifth freedom rights for carriers belonging to a signatory state of the open skies resolution. "This would open up the doors for intra-African feeder services and foster competition and thus innovation," he says. "It is time for African Airlines to get out of the comfort zone," he exclaims.