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Rwandair No Longer Moving Forward With Its Fleet Expansion
RwandAir is no longer considering, for now, its earlier fleet growth plan of two Airbus A330neos and two Boeing 737 Max orders that it had made via lessors.
This is a major move for the African operator, re-evaluating its growth plan and re-aligning its ideas with that of Qatar Airways considering the ongoing talks with the Qatari carrier to acquire 49% stake in the African airline.
Flight Global reports Cirium fleets data showing the A330neos were to be supplied via Air Lease, while the Max jets were ordered through SMBC Aviation Capital with the four airliners ordered in 2018 and originally due to arrive in 2019.
“The process of rationalizing the fleet and working on the fleet mix is still a work in progress,” noted RwandAir chief executive Yvonne Makolo as per Flight global.
“In line with our growth with our future partner, the fleet mix will change,” continued Makolo, noting the large number of types currently operated by the carrier.
The CEO also confirms that RwandAir is no longer moving forward with the neos for now and the decision to cancel the MAX orders was done even before the pandemic.
But even as RwandAir expresses optimism for growth under the shadows of the giant Qatari carrier, History will suggest that Qatar Airways may be open to leasing out some of its aircraft especially to airlines it has equity shares in.
It is to be remembered that on Feb 2018 the already defunct Air Italy (a casualty of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic) leased its Boeing airliners from Qatar Airways – that had 49 percent stake – with the Doha-based carrier’s stymied network suggesting it welcomes opportunities to find an alternative home for some of its incoming aircraft.
RwandAir has a fleet of 12 airliners comprising of one Airbus A330-200 and one A330-300, four Boeing 737-800s, two Boeing 737-700s, two Bombardier CRJ 900s and two De Havilland Canada with the airline resuming flights beginning August 1.
The canceled aircraft were a part of a route expansion plan before the global pandemic took a toll on the aviation industry.
Amid the challenges created by the coronavirus crisis, “we are going to keep the fleet as it is for now”, says Makolo. She goes on to add that “we’ve had to slow down” network-expansion plans amid the current uncertainties.
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