Browsing Tag: RwandAir

At RwandAir's headquarters at Kigali Airport, they have mutliple images of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in their livery around the office. This one shows a operation date of 2015.

At RwandAir's headquarters at Kigali Airport, they have mutliple images of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in their livery around the office. This mock up shows a hopeful operation date of 2015.

I have been learning a lot about Rwanda and RwandAir over the past few days and will be sharing everything over the next week or so. I wanted to give a quick update on RwandAir’s aircraft and route planning, since it is quite surprising and involves a few Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The airline has just taken delivery of their first new aircraft ever, a Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior. According to RwandAir CEO John Mirenge this is just the beginning. He stated that they hope to increase their current fleet of six aircraft to 12 over the next five years and up to 18 by 2020. Currently they operate a fleet of two Boeing 737-500s, one Boeing 737-800 (a second one coming in October), two CRJ-200s and one Dash 8. By 2020, they hope to take delivery of additional Boeing 737s, ATR-72, Embraer regional jets and Boeing 787 Dreamliners — new.

Mirenge told that he hopes to fly the Dreamliners to China, Europe and possibly the eastcoast of the United States. The airline hopes to create a hub of air transportation in Kigali, providing the demand for the larger aircraft.

It seems that flying the Dreamliner by 2015 might be a bit optimistic. It might be difficult to get a delivery slot by then and Kigali is in the process of building a new airport to better handle the expected increase of traffic, but is not set to be completed until 2018.

It is unusual for an airline to be so candid about their future plans of aircraft purchases and future routes. However, RwandAir is a different sort of airline and definitely have created a positive momentum.

The RwandAir 737 at Boeing Field (check the 787 in the background), the Boeing Sky Interior and a shot of two Icelandair Boeing 757s

I am currently at a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey and so far the trip to Rwanda has gone very well. Our flight leaving from Boeing Field ended up being delayed about six hours due to a power black out and computer issues for the bank in Africa. It turned out okay, since it gave us more time to check out the 737-800 (9XR-WF) on the ground and we were even rounded up and taken to a dive bar (Stellar Pizza for any of you locals) where the CEO or Rwanda Air, John Mirenge served us beer — right on.

The flight from Seattle to Keflavik, Iceland only took about 6hrs and 40minutes and after about a 2 hour layover for fuel, we were on our way to Istanbul. I got to test out the Boeing Sky Interior on a short flight from Seattle to Dallas with American Airlines, but I have to say I love it even more after spending about forteen hours with it now.

We rest in Istanbul tonight and tomorrow we are on our way to Kigali, Rwanda. Unfortunately this is one of those trips where I don’t get to go outside the airport or hotel, but I want to be well rested for Rwanda. Of course I will have a full report on the trip and plenty of photos later.

How does an airline get a plane made to fly only about 3,000 miles from Seattle, WA to Kigali, Rwanda? I am not really sure, but I bet it involves a lot of fuel stops. This Thursday, RwandAir is set to take delivery of their first Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior. The airline is very excited to operate the first Boeing aircraft with Sky Interior in Africa. The new interior option is a feature for 737s that gives it an updated look. I have previously had the opportunity to fly from Seattle to Dallas to check out the Sky Interior with American Airlines and was very impressed. Now, I will have the ability to experience the Sky Interior and RwandAir’s newest 737 for a bit longer, since I am lucky enough to be invited for the ride from Seattle to Rwanda.

The 737-800 will leave Boeing Field at about 11am on Thursday and we are supposed to land in Kigali sometime during Saturday. This is going to be a long flight for sure and one probably only an airline geek could love. What is it going to be like to ride in an airplane half way across the world that is designed to barely fly across the US? I am not sure, but I feel an adventure coming on.

At this point, I do not even know what route we will take. I am assuming we will fly over to the eastern side of the US, then over to Iceland and Greenland before getting to Europe. I know that we will be stopping in Istanbul, then down south to Rwanda. Anyone want to take a guess to the exact route (I will update this post with FlightAware tracking information when it is posted)? You better believe I will be taking a lot of photos and sharing some stories when I am done. Until then, I will be running some guest blogs and pre-written content.