In April 2017, Rwandair operated its first flight from the Rwandan capital of Kigali to its counterpart Harare in Zimbabwe. The first departure, celebrating its fifth anniversary on Monday, was operated by one of the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft.
At the height of capacity over the year of 2019, the airline had 75,814 seats available. Meanwhile, today the route is served by the carrier’s two Bombardier CRJ-900 three times a week. According to data from Cirium, capacity is slowly picking back up following a couple of years with reduced traffic, from a low of 11,936 seats in 2021, to a planned 23,614 for 2022.
Fifth freedom through Zimbabwe to South Africa
RwandAir‘s operations to Harare are so-called fifth freedom flights. Flight WB110 leaves Kigali International Airport (KGL) on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, scheduled at 07:55 local time. It first flies to Harare Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE), with an estimated arrival time at 10:40.
After a scheduled stop of 50 minutes, the same flight then continues to Cape Town in South Africa, where it has an arrival time at 14:50. The return leg is operated as flight WB111. It departs Cape Town International Airport (CPT) at 15:40, arriving in Harare at 19:00. Again after a scheduled stop of 50 minutes, the plane heads back towards Kigali, landing back home in Rwanda at 22:25.
Strengthening economic ties
Justin Nyaga has been with the airline for two years longer than the Harare service has been operational. As the carrier’s country manager for Zimbabwe, he commented on the anniversary,
“Five years ago we launched our first flight from Kigali to Harare to connect it with top destinations throughout Africa – and beyond – across our extensive network. We are very proud to be celebrating this great milestone after five successful years, which have seen us connect friends and families, and strengthen Rwanda’s strong economic ties with Zimbabwe. We thank all of our customers for choosing to fly with us and look forward to the next five years of connecting these two great countries as we continue to connect Africa to the World.”
The RwandAir fleet
RwandAir has two Bombardier CRJ900ER aircraft in its fleet. They have a two-class configuration over 75 seats, with seven recliner seats in business class and 68 standard seats in economy. The jets, registered as 9XRWH and 9XRWI, are nine and a half years old, having been delivered to the airline straight from the Montreal factory in October 2012.
Other than the two CRJs, RwandAir has a fleet consisting of ten more aircraft. Two of these are widebody Airbus A330s, one -200 and one -300, both approximately five and a half years old. These are usually deployed on another of the airline’s fifth freedom services, heading to London Heathrow with a stopover in Brussels, while also making the occasional appearance in Dubai.
For routes within Africa, to the Middle East (recently commenced Doha and Dubai), and Asia (Mumbai), the airline employs its fleet of six Boeing 737 jets. It has two of the 737-700 variety, and four of the 737-800. It also has two DeHavilland Dash 8 turboprops, which mostly flies shorter routes to the east of Kigali.