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RwandAir logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1 December 2002; 16 years ago (2002-12-01)
Commenced operations27 April 2003
Operating basesKigali International Airport
Cadjehoun Airport[1]
Fleet size12
Company sloganFly the dream of Africa
Parent companyGovernment of Rwanda
HeadquartersKigali, Rwanda
Key people

RwandAir Limited is the flag carrier airline of Rwanda.[4] It operates domestic and international services to East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, Europe the Middle East and Asia, from its main base at Kigali International Airport in Kigali.[5]



A former Rwandair Express Boeing 737-500
A former RwandAir Bombardier CRJ200LR

After the 1994 genocide the government took several attempts to revive the former national carrier Air Rwanda that ceased operations during the genocide. Various private companies showed interest in partnering with the government and Uganda-based SA Alliance Air ran the company from 1997 to 2000.[6] After SA Alliance ceased operations, the government Rwanda took over the Rwandan operations and re-branded the airline, to ensure its continuity. RwandAir began operations on 1 December 2002 as the new national carrier for Rwanda under the name Rwandair Express (with passenger air transportation as the core activity). In 2016, RwandAir received International Air Transport Association's Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).[7]


The airline began to expand regionally and by 2009 the network to included Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi, and domestic destinations such as Gisenyi. In March 2009, the airline registered a new trademark "RwandAir Ltd" which is its current operating name. In June 2009, the airline officially re-branded from Rwandair Express to RwandAir, because the new name implies a large, serious airline, while the "Express" in the former name implied a small regional operation.[8]

In May 2010, Rene Janata became the CEO, introducing a frequent flyer program and developing the airline to become a network carrier. In October 2010, John Mirenge became the new CEO of RwandAir [9]


In July 2010 the first of RwandAir's new Boeing 737-500's arrived; the second one arrived on 20 October 2010. Both are leased from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and each have a two class configuration with 12 business class seats and 90 economy class seats.[10]

In August 2011 the airline took delivery of their first aircraft purchased directly from an airline manufacturer. All prior aircraft operated by RwandAir have been either leased or bought as a second hand. The aircraft purchased is a Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior, also known as Boeing 737 Next Generation, and was the only one operating among African air carriers. The flight departed from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, United States at 5:30 PM PST. It made its first stop in Keflavík International Airport in Iceland, then it headed for a second stop to Istanbul, Turkey. It finally arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, after a 20-hour flight.[11]

In October 2011 RwandAir took delivery of their second Boeing Next-Generation 737-800. During January 2012, the airline disposed of the two CRJ200 aircraft it owned, in anticipation of acquiring two CRJ-900NGs.[12]

In February 2013, John Mirenge announced that the airline would fly to Accra, Cape Town, Harare, Juba and Zanzibar, in 2013.[13]

In May 2015, RwandAir officially became an IATA member.[14]

2015 to date[edit]

In 2017, the Government of Benin granted RwandAir seventh freedom rights to operate direct flights from Benin. RwandAir plans to base two Boeing 737 aircraft at Cotonou in Benin.[15]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Ownership and management[edit]

Rwandair is 99% owned by the Government of Rwanda.[16] The government hoped to privatize the airline after 2013, once it became profitable; the process had been abandoned in 2008, after it emerged that nobody at the time was willing to offer the amount expected from the sale.[17]

RwandAir's Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring that the airline follows a suitable corporate governance framework to ensure the creation and protection of value for the shareholder. Godfrey Kabera is currently the Chairman of RwandAir. The long-time aviation veteran Girma Wake was the chairman of RwandAir from 2012 to 2017.[2]

Yvonne Manzi Makolo is the current CEO. Makolo was promoted from deputy CEO, in charge of Corporate Affairs, in April 2018. She replaced acting CEO Col. Chance Ndagano.[3]

Business trends[edit]

RwandAir has been loss-making for many years.

Full detailed accounts are rarely published, although intermittently some figures are made public by senior management or the government, or in government budgetary reports. Available trends are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Turnover (FRw bn) 30
Turnover (US$ m) 47.2 81.4 95.3 99.9
Net profit before tax (FRw bn) loss loss loss loss loss loss loss
Net profit before tax (US$ m) loss loss loss loss loss 53.4 54.8
Government subsidies received (FRw bn) 10.8 25.2 22.0 27.0 29.1 33.6 49.6
Government subsidies received (US$ m) 56.3 53.8
Number of employees (at year end) 749 n/a
Number of passengers (m) 0.13 0.20 0.36 0.41 0.50 0.60
Passenger load factor (%) 60
Number of aircraft (at year end) 8 8 8 8 8
Notes/sources [18][19] [18][20] [18][21]
[18][24] [18][25]
The head office is in the main building of Kigali International Airport

Head office[edit]

The airline has its head office on the top floor of the main building of Kigali International Airport in Kigali, Rwanda.[32][33] The airline previously had its head office in Centenary House in Kigali.[34] The airline began moving its operations from Centenary House to the airport on Friday 14 May 2010. The airline was scheduled to be moved in by Monday 17 May 2010.[33] At one previous point the airline had its head office in the Telcom House.[35]


RwandAir serves the following destinations as of July 2019:[36] [37]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Belgium Brussels Brussels Airport [38]
Benin Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport Hub [1]
Burundi Bujumbura Bujumbura International Airport
Cameroon Douala Douala International Airport
China Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport [39]
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa N'djili Airport
Ethiopia Addis Ababa Addis Ababa Bole International Airport [40]
Gabon Libreville Libreville International Airport
Ghana Accra Kotoka International Airport
Guinea Conakry Conakry International Airport
India Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Israel Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport [41]
Ivory Coast Abidjan Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport
Kenya Mombasa Moi International Airport
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Mali Bamako Bamako–Sénou International Airport
Nigeria Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Republic of the Congo Brazzaville Maya-Maya Airport
Rwanda Bugesera Bugesera International Airport
Cyangugu Kamembe Airport
Kigali Kigali International Airport Hub
Senegal Dakar Blaise Diagne International Airport
Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport Terminated
South Africa Cape Town Cape Town International Airport
Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport
South Sudan Juba Juba International Airport
Tanzania Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport
Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro International Airport
Uganda Entebbe Entebbe International Airport
United Arab Emirates Dubai Dubai International Airport
United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport
Zambia Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
Zimbabwe Harare Harare International Airport

Codeshare agreements[edit]

RwandAir codeshares with the following airlines:


A RwandAir Airbus A330-200

The RwandAir fleet comprises the following aircraft as of August 2017:[45][46]

RwandAir fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers Notes
B E+ E Total
Airbus A330-200 1 20 21 203 244
Airbus A330-300 1 30 21 223 274
Airbus A330-900neo 2 TBA Deliveries to begin in April 2019[47]
Boeing 737-700[48] 2 12 108 120
Boeing 737-800 4 16 138 154
Boeing 737 MAX 8 2 TBA [47]
Bombardier CRJ900ER 2 7 68 75
De Havilland Dash 8-400 2 7 60 67 [49]
Total 12 4


  1. ^ a b Liu, Jim (11 September 2017). "Rwandair opens Cotonou hub in late-August 2017". Manchester, United Kingdom: Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Mwai, Collins (9 November 2017). "RwandAir gets new board chair". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b Abdur Rahman and Alfa Shaban (8 April 2018). "Yvonne Makolo: Kagame appoints female CEO for national carrier, RwandAir". Brazzaville: Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  4. ^ CAPA Centre for Aviation (21 December 2014). "RwandAir plans further regional expansion in 2015 and launch of long-haul services in 2017". Sydney, Australia: CAPA Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  5. ^ Daniel Sabiiti (29 June 2017). "RwandAir Appoints UK Firm To Handle Its Cargo Services In Europe". Kigali: KTPress Rwanda. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  6. ^ Yates, Chris (1997). "Alliance spreads into Central Africa" (Archived from the Original). Archiving Air Transport Magazine. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  7. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (11 November 2016). "RwandAir gets safety certification for its ground operations". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  8. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (25 August 2014). "RwandAir changing country's aviation industry through enhanced aviation skills". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (29 October 2010). "Mirenge new CEO of RwandaAir". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  10. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (23 August 2010). "Another RwandAir Boeing arrives". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  11. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (28 August 2011). "RwandAir's new Boeing 737-800NB plane lands". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  12. ^ (3 May 2017). "RwandAir: Daring to dream". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  13. ^ Business Reporter (13 February 2013). "RwandAir eyes Harare route". NewsDay Quoting Bloomberg News. Harare. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  14. ^ Bateta, Agnes (24 January 2016). "Global umbrella gives RwandAir kudos". East African Business Week. Kampala. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  15. ^ Casey, David (3 August 2017). "RwandAir launches Cotonou hub as Benin and Rwanda plan new airline". Manchester, United Kingdom: Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  16. ^ a b Saul Butera (12 February 2013). "RwandAir May Offer Shares After Returning to Profit in Two Years". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  17. ^ RNA Reporter (4 September 2010). "RwandAir to be sold after becoming profitable – Finance Minister". Kigali: Rwanda News Agency (RNA). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e Ivan Mugisha (24 January 2013). "RwandAir could be privatised in 2015 as Umubano deal drags on". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  19. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (September 2010). "Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning: Budget Execution Report For The Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  20. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (October 2011). "Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning: Budget Execution Report For The Fiscal Year 2010/11" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  21. ^ Jenny Clover (5 November 2012). "RwandAir expands fleet as competition hots up". The Kenya Standard. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  22. ^ Kabona, Esiara (12 April 2013). "RwandAir targets $350 million sales by 2018". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  23. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (14 June 2012). "Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning: Budget Speech for the Financial Year 2012/13" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  24. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (September 2013). "Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning: Budget Execution Report For The Financial Year 2012/2013" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  25. ^ a b Minifra (June 2015). "Transport Sector Bulletin 2014/15" (PDF). Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Minifra). Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  26. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (September 2014). "Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning: Budget Execution Report for The Fiscal Year 2013/14" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  27. ^ Sanchez, Dana (27 January 2016). "RwandAir Rising, Adding Aircraft, Flights To Europe, Asia". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  28. ^ Butera, Saul (27 January 2016). "RwandAir to Add Europe Destination, Four Aircraft This Year". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  29. ^ Ministry of Finance And Economic Planning (Minecofin) (April 2015). "Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning: Budget Framework Paper 2015/2016, 2016/2017 & 2017/2018" (PDF). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  30. ^ Himbara, David (16 May 2018). "Kagame's RwandAir Lost US$54.8 Million In 2016". Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  31. ^ "Rwandair growth and still no profits". 12 February 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  32. ^ "All RwandAir Offices & Branches." RwandAir. Retrieved on 24 May 2011. "Kigali Head Office Kigali International Airport Main Building (top floor)"
  33. ^ a b "Announcement on RwandAir Head Office shift from Centenary House to new airport office." RwandAir. Retrieved on 16 June 2010.
  34. ^ Flight International 12–18 April 2005
  35. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March - 5 April 2004. 61. "Telcom House, Boulevard delumuganda, Kigli, Kacyiru"
  36. ^ Rwandair (15 August 2013). "Rwandair flight schedule". Kigali: Rwandair. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  37. ^ Liu, Jim (14 February 2018). "Rwandair adds new African destinations in 2Q18". Manchester, United Kingdom: Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  38. ^ Jim Liu (28 June 2017). "Rwandair schedules Brussels mid-July 2017 debut". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Rwandair schedules Guangzhou launch in June 2019". RoutesOnline. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Rwandair adds Addis Ababa service from April 2019". 4 January 2019.
  41. ^ "Rwandair schedules Tel Aviv launch in June 2019". RoutesOnline. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  42. ^ Peterson Tumwebaze (17 April 2009). "Rwandair in code sharing agreement with Brussels Airlines". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  43. ^ Tumwebaze, Peterson (8 September 2009). "Rwandair strikes code share deal with Ethiopian Airlines". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali.
  44. ^ Tumwebaze, Peterson (6 November 2013). "RwandAir, South African Airways partner". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  45. ^ CAPA Centre for Aviation (3 November 2015). "RwandAir Fleet Summary: as at 26 October 2015". Sydney, Australia: CAPA Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  46. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2017): 30.
  47. ^ a b "RwandAir to add A330neo, B737 MAX in 2019". 12 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  48. ^ African Manager (18 April 2013). "RwandAir Express acquires new Boeing 737-700". Tunis: Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  49. ^ Bombardier (27 February 2014). "Bombardier Delivers Dual-Class Q400 NextGen Airliner to RwandAir". Toronto: Bombardier Aerospace. Retrieved 19 May 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to RwandAir at Wikimedia Commons