Correction – Rwandese carrier RwandAir will launch direct services between Kigali and London Heathrow from November 6. The direct service will replace the one with a stopover in Brussels, the airline said on October 17. RwandAir drops Brussels stopover in favor of direct services to London.
Kigali-Brussels-London has been on the schedule since May 2017 as a three-weekly service, until 2020 to Gatwick. This will become four flights a week by its Airbus A330-200 or -300, departing Rwanda late in the evening on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The return flight will depart London in the evening too, which means that the aircraft will be parked for most of the day.
Although links between Belgium and African countries are strong, RwandAir says the switch to a direct service to London will help the airline “to improve connections for those traveling from further afield.” CEO Yvonne Makolo adds in a media statement that “the UK is an incredibly important market for us. And we know that our customers will value the shorter flight times and increased connections that will be offered by the new service.” A direct service with Brussels will be maintained.
One reason that RwandAir is changing its schedule is that it seeing strong competition on the Kigali-Brussels route from Brussels Airlines. The Lufthansa subsidiary operates ten weekly services to Kigali with its A330-300s. Starting at €545, a basic one-way fare is over €100 cheaper than that of RwandAir.
The African carrier offers onward connections to eighteen destinations in Africa. It also flies to Dubai, Mumbai, and Guangzhou. RwandAir has a fleet of twelve aircraft. Apart from the two A330s, it has four Boeing 737-800s and two -700s, two Mitsubishi CRJ900s, and two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s. The airline had planned to lease two A330-900s from Air Lease Corporation (see main picture) that fle in the RwandAir livery, but decided in September 2020 to cancel the lease with ALC. It preferred to seek future options with Qatar Airways, with which it signed an enhanced codeshare agreement in October 2021.
(This story has been corrected to explain better that Rwandair will still continue to operate into Brussels)
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.