By Victor Shalton
RwandAir Begins Non-Stop Flights Between London Heathrow and Kigali
To cater for increased demand, RwandAir operated its first non-stop direct flight between the Rwandese capital Kigali and London last week. The African airline has been operating flights to London via Brussels for the past five years, with service to Brussels now operated separately.
Services started at the beginning of November with the inaugural flight WB710 operated by an Airbus A330-200, which can accommodate 20 passengers in Business class, 21 in Premium and 203 in Economy. The Rwandan national company will offer four flights per week between its base in Kigali and London Heathrow Airport.
Departures are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:35 p.m. arriving the next day at 6:20 a.m., with return flights leaving Britain Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. landing the next day at 7:00 a.m.
Simon Rickman, RwandAir UK country manager, said: “We are excited our first direct flight has landed at London Heathrow today. The UK is an incredibly important market for RwandAir as we know these new direct services will prove very popular with our customers, who will highly value our shorter journey times and increased connections to onward destinations across Africa.”
Ross Baker, Heathrow’s chief commercial officer, said, “We are delighted to see RwandAir expand their operations by launching a new non-stop route linking London and Kigali through Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport.
“It is fantastic that demand for travel is increasing again, boosting connectivity for passengers and cargo.”
RwandAir remains without competition on this route launched in May 2017. The airline which has been using Airbus A330s on the London route has flown London-Kigali via Brussels for the last five years. It originally operated from London Gatwick but, after three years, switched to Heathrow in 2020.
The new flights increase access for high-end leisure customers “who want to experience a close encounter with Rwanda’s world-famous mountain gorillas, go on safari in Akagera National Park,” according to Rwandair, “and admire the majestic landscape of Rwanda in The land of a thousand hills”.
The airline, however, is not abandoning the line between Kigali and Brussels-Zaventem, on which it shares its codes with Brussels Airlines: rotations – operated on the A330-300 – are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 12:30 a.m. to arrive at 8:00 a.m., and leave the Belgian capital at 9:00 p.m. to land the next day at 5:30 a.m.
The airline currently flies to 28 destinations across East, Central, West, and Southern Africa, while its intercontinental flights include flights to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
The Rwandese flag carrier operates a mixed fleet comprising of two B737-700NGs, two Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGens, two Bombardier Q-400 Next Gens, four Boeing 737-800NGs, one Airbus A330–200 and one Airbus A330–300.