Rwanda’s airline will start three weekly flights to London’s Gatwick airport on May 26 and it expects to exceed one million passengers on all its routes in the next three to four years, Chief Executive John Mirenge said on Monday.
The London route, which will be served by two newly acquired Airbus A330s, will be East African airline RwandAir’s 22nd destination.
“We see this as another way to increase tourism from Europe and UK in particular which is one of the key contributors of tourists to Rwanda,” Mirenge told Reuters.
Mirenge also said the airline planned to start flights to New York, Bamako in Mali, Conakry in Guinea and Lilongwe in Malawi. It would also soon start flights to Mumbai and Guangzhou in China.
“Africa is still underserved in terms of aviation services so that’s why we cannot stop from growing especially on the continent,” Mirenge said.
For the year ending July 2017, Mirenge said RwandAir was targeting a total of 750,000 passengers, up from 600,000 in the previous period.
RwandAir has 11 aircraft and expects delivery of a 12th, a Boeing 737-800, in May.
Rwanda’s government signed a deal with Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil this year to build and operate a bigger airport in Bugesera, south of the capital. It is due to be completed in 2019.
(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana, Editing by Susan Thomas)