Rwanda Air rises like the Phoenix

The pace is gathering momentum at the corporate headquarters of RwandAir at the Kigali International Airport towards major fleet and destination expansion this year.

The upcoming delivery in the second half of the year of two brand-new Airbus A330s will allow the airline to launch intercontinental flights for the first time in its history, and preparations are in full swing to ticking all the right boxes in good time.

Recruitment has gone underway for additional flight attendants to join RwandAir, as the current fleet of 8 aircraft is set to grow by a further 3 this year – besides the 2 Airbus A330s, another brand-new Boeing B737-800NG is joining the fleet – before one more is due for delivery in 2017.

The airline is also recruiting country managers for their planned new destinations in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Benin in Africa, and notably, ahead of the launch of long-haul flights, in India and China.

The airline’s inflight duty-free sale is also undergoing a revamp to prepare for their intercontinental flights, and confirmation was received that a contract has been signed with DFASS, the world’s largest inflight duty free sales provider. Said an airline spokesperson in a statement received a short while ago:

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RwandAir is growing rapidly with the addition of new aircraft and destinations. To augment this growth and expand their customer offerings, RwandAir is launching a new onboard duty free retail program.

DFASS Group will use its vast network of prestigious brands and product resources to uniquely merchandise the RwandAir onboard retail program to appeal to the needs and desires of the RwandAir passengers. DFASS has a proven history of working with its airline partners to develop a strong foundation necessary to implement, build and grow a world class retail business. DFASS will provide its state of the art technology both Point of Sale Software (POS) as well as its back office solutions that will benefit RwandAir, its passengers and flight attendants.

In establishing their new inflight duty free service, DFASS was chosen due to its leadership in the industry, including its innovative and creative sales & marketing plans coupled with access to prestige products, as well as its global operational infrastructure.

‘DFASS Group has the unique ability to deliver proper portfolio of products that appeal to RwandAir’s passengers along with its consumer marketing programs coupled with its powerful state of the art technology that are strong elements to create a powerful in-flight duty free program for RwandAir’ said John Mirenge, CEO of RwandAir.

‘RwandAir is an important partner for DFASS Group and we believe that there are tremendous growth opportunities in the African region’, said Benny Klepach, CEO of the DFASS Group before adding: ‘RwandAir is excited to commence its new duty free program to better serve their customers. An active partnership is integral to the success of any inflight program’.

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It was also confirmed that two IATA certification processes for RwandAir remain firmly on track, one being the renewal safety audit under the new e-IOSA scheme after RwandAir was first safety certified over 2 years ago. The airline is also preparing for the safe ground-handling certification under IATA’s ISAGO program, which audits safety in ground operations.

Flights to India’s main commercial city of Mumbai are expected to be launched in the October to December time frame, as are flights to Guangzhou, while added Africa destinations such as Abidjan, Cotonou, Harare, and Khartoum will also be added in the second half of 2016.