IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded December 1, 2002 (2002-12-01)
Commenced operations 27 April 2003
Operating bases Kigali International Airport
Cadjehoun Airport[1]
Fleet size 12
Destinations 23
Company slogan Fly the dream of Africa
Parent company Government of Rwanda
Headquarters Kigali, 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]



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 has 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 off 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

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

Head office


The airline has its head office on the top floor of the main building of Kigali International Airport. Previously, it had its headquarters in Centenary House in downtown Kigali, before moving its operations to the airport in May 2010. At one previous point the airline had its head office in the Telecom House.[16]

Ownership and Management

Rwandair is 99% owned by the Government of Rwanda.[17] The government hoped to privatize the airline after 2013, once it become 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.[18]

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. Mr. Godfrey Kabera is currently the Chairman of RwandAir. The long-time aviation veteran Mr. Girma Wake was the chairman of the 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]

RwandAir has been loss-making for a number of years. Detailed accounts do not appear to have been published, with only a few public announcements from senior management or the government giving details of the scale of the operation; available trends are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Turnover (FRw bn) 30
Turnover (US$ m) 47.2 81.4[19] 100.7[19]
Net Profits/Losses after tax (FRw bn) loss loss loss loss loss loss
Net Profits/Losses after tax (US$ m) loss loss loss loss loss loss
Subsidies received (FRw bn) 10.8[20] 25.2[21] 22.0[22] 27.0[23] 29.1[24] 33.6[25]
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 [26] [26] [26][27]
[26] [26] [29][30]


RwandAir serves the following destinations (including codeshare destinations) as of February 2018:[31] [32]

Country City Airport Notes
BelgiumBrusselsBrussels Airport[33]
BeninCotonouCadjehoun AirportHub[1]
BurundiBujumburaBujumbura International Airport
CameroonDoualaDouala International Airport
Republic of the CongoBrazzavilleMaya-Maya Airport
GabonLibrevilleLibreville International Airport
GhanaAccraKotoka International Airport
GuineaConakryConakry International Airport
IndiaMumbaiChhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Ivory CoastAbidjanPort Bouet Airport
KenyaMombasaMoi International Airport
KenyaNairobiJomo Kenyatta International Airport
MaliBamakoBamako–Sénou International Airport
NigeriaAbujaNnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
NigeriaLagosMurtala Muhammed International Airport
RwandaBugeseraBugesera International Airport
RwandaCyanguguKamembe Airport
RwandaKigaliKigali International AirportHub
SenegalDakarLéopold Sédar Senghor International Airport
South AfricaCape TownCape Town International Airport
South AfricaJohannesburgO. R. Tambo International Airport
South SudanJubaJuba International Airport
TanzaniaDar es SalaamJulius Nyerere International Airport
TanzaniaKilimanjaroKilimanjaro International Airport
UgandaEntebbeEntebbe International Airport
United Arab EmiratesDubaiDubai International Airport
United KingdomLondonGatwick Airport
ZambiaLusakaKenneth Kaunda International Airport
ZimbabweHarareHarare International Airport

Codeshare agreements

RwandAir codeshares with the following airlines:


The RwandAir fleet comprises the following aircraft as of August 2017:[37][38]

RwandAir fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y+ Y Total
Airbus A330-200 1 20 21 203 244
Airbus A330-300 1 30 21 223 274
Airbus A330-900neo 2[39] TBA Deliveries begin January 2019
Boeing 737-700[40] 2 12 108 120
Boeing 737-800 4 16 138 154
Boeing 737 MAX 8 2[39] TBA
Bombardier CRJ900ER 2 6 69 75
Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 2 7 60 67 [41]
Total 12 4


  1. 1 2 Liu, Jim (11 September 2017). "Rwandair opens Cotonou hub in late-August 2017". Manchester, United Kingdom: Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. 1 2 Mwai, Collins (9 November 2017). "RwandAir gets new board chair". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  3. 1 2 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" (Achived 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. Airports Worldwide (18 May 2018). "Kigali International Airport: Facilities". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  17. 1 2 Saul Butera (12 February 2013). "RwandAir May Offer Shares After Returning to Profit in Two Years". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  18. RNA Reporter (4 September 2010). "RwandAir to be sold after becoming profitable – Finance Minister". Kigali: Rwanda News Agency (RNA). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  19. 1 2 Minifra (June 2015). "Transport Sector Bulletin 2014/15" (PDF). Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Minifra). Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 Ivan Mugisha (24 January 2013). "RwandAir could be privatised in 2015 as Umubano deal drags on". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  27. Jenny Clover (5 November 2012). "RwandAir expands fleet as competition hots up". The Kenya Standard. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  28. Kabona, Esiara (12 April 2013). "RwandAir targets $350 million sales by 2018". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  29. Sanchez, Dana (27 January 2016). "RwandAir Rising, Adding Aircraft, Flights To Europe, Asia". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  30. Butera, Saul (27 January 2016). "RwandAir to Add Europe Destination, Four Aircraft This Year". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  31. Rwandair (15 August 2013). "Rwandair flight schedule". Kigali: Rwandair. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  32. Liu, Jim (14 February 2018). "Rwandair adds new African destinations in 2Q18". Manchester, United Kingdom: Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  33. Jim Liu (28 June 2017). "Rwandair schedules Brussels mid-July 2017 debut". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  34. Peterson Tumwebaze (17 April 2009). "Rwandair in code sharing agreement with Brussels Airlines". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  35. Tumwebaze, Peterson (8 September 2009). "Rwandair strikes code share deal with Ethiopian Airlines". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali.
  36. Tumwebaze, Peterson (6 November 2013). "RwandAir, South African Airways partner". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  37. 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.
  38. "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2017): 30.
  39. 1 2 "RwandAir to add A330neo, B737 MAX in 2019". 12 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  40. African Manager (18 April 2013). "RwandAir Express acquires new Boeing 737-700". Tunis: Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  41. Bombardier (27 February 2014). "Bombardier Delivers Dual-Class Q400 NextGen Airliner to RwandAir". Toronto: Bombardier Aerospace. Retrieved 19 May 2018.

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