Rwandair Expanding Its DR Congo Presence

RwandAir will expand its footprint in DRC this month through new routes of Kigali-Lubumbashi and Kigali-Goma, adding to the Kigali-Kinshasa one, which has been one of the busiest these past two years.

The Kigali-Lubumbashi route will be launched on September 29, followed by Kigali-Goma flights, as the airline moves to cement its presence in DRC.

The continued improvement in relations between DRC and Rwanda since President Felix Tshisekedi came to power, has increasingly opened up the Congolese frontier to RwandAir.

RwandAir's launch of its first flights to Kinshasa a few years ago proved to be a masterstroke, as Congolese businessmen from the DRC hinterland embraced the airline with both hands, while transportation was also eased for Rwandans going to DRC.

RwandAir operates four weekly flights to Kinshasa.

Jimmy Musoni, RwandAir head of global operations said recovery of the airline's network will be top on its priority list, as it seeks to turn around its fortunes.

As part of its recovery, the airline will also resume flights to Uganda on September 17 and to Mumbai on September 20, after two years of back-to-back suspension of flights.

Resumption of flights to Guangzhou, China is yet to be announced but the route is back on the flights schedule. Being the best performing route before the pandemic, followed by Dubai and West Africa, its suspension earlier in the year hurt the airline's revenues. Of the West African routes, Kigali-Lagos has been the best performing during the pandemic. The Kigali-Dubai route also held steady. The airline recently resumed its London, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare and Cape Town flights.

The national carrier will also bank on the newly signed interline deal with Qatar as it embarks on its long road to recovery after close to two years of turbulence.

RwandAir has in the past attempted to get a licence to operate direct flights to the US, and had even completed an assessment, but nothing has materialised yet.

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