Sunday, January 27, 2013

► RWANDA: Rising demand forces RwandAir to lease 737-700s, but how long until profitability and ultimately, privatization?

RwandAirRiding its current wave of strong passenger figures, Rwandair (WB) are to phase out their two Boeing 737-500 in favour of the larger, more economical Boeing 737-700. Rwandair currently operates two Boeing 737-500s.

Rwandair's 787 - due in 2015
Rwandair's 787 - due in 2015
Speaking in Kigali recently, Rwandair's maverick CEO John Mirenge said the Rwandan carrier would not renew its leases with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) for the two 500s, which expire in May and July respectively. In their place, WB will lease two Boeing B737-700NGs from the International Leasing Finance Corporation (ILFC) in order to cope with rising passenger demand.

During the recently ended festive season, the Rwandan national airline set a new record of 2,205 passengers flown in a given day, travelling through its hub at Kigali International Airport. 

However, despite its strong passenger growth figures, the carrier's planned privatisation bid has stalled because, according to Mr Mirenge, "the company is not making any profits presently to attract investors.

Mirenge is, however, optimistic that the airline would soon become profitable and, thus, enhance the Rwandan government’s chances of finding an investor to take it over.