KIGALI, 16 February 2021 – Rwanda’s national carrier, Air Rwanda, plans to use the Ghanaian capital, Accra, as its hub to fly to the United States starting next December.
RwandAir says it has already secured authorization from the Ghanaian government to use Accra as the last point-of-departure to the United States.
Under the plan, RwandAir would launch scheduled services to New York from Kigali via Acccra.
The airline awaits the outcome of its application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for an amendment to its current U.S. Foreign Air Carrier Permit.
In the amendment to its filing completed last January 21, RwandAir said it is seeking to be allowed to either enter code sharing agreement or wet lease with “properly supervised U.S. or foreign air carrier when Rwanda successfully achieves an IASA Category I rating”.
The options chosen by RwandAir to code share and wet lease are a recognition by RwandAir that it does not have yet have the robust fleet it needs to adequately serve its expansion plans with only two A330neos.
Under code-share and wet-lease, one airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline or other type of business acting as a broker of air travel (the lease), which pays by hours operated..
RwandAir needs A330s or other type of big aircraft for the long-haul routes it has announced to Guangzhou (China) and New York (USA) as well as boosting capacity on routes to Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Lagos (Nigeria) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Currently, RwandAir operates within Africa, serves one destination in the Middle East (Dubai) and two destinations in Europe (Belgium and the United Kingdom) and India.
RwandAir owns seven of its 12 aircraft of two Airbuses A330s, four Boeing B737-800, two Boeing B737-700, two Bombardier CRJ-900 and two Bombardier Q400.
The Rwandan airliner has accumulated $399.05 million operating loss in the three years to 2019, according to the filing to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In a related development, Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure Claver Gatete told The East African a few months ago that RwandAir had concluded negotiations with Qatar Airlines under which the Qatari carrier acquire 60 percent stake in the Rwandan airline in addition to constructing Bugesera Airport.