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No expansion

Rwandair drops A330 Neo and 737 Max plans

Rwanda's national airline is putting the brakes on an expansion of its fleet. In future, Rwandair could lease aircraft from Qatar Airways.

Tis Meyer/

Rwandair Boeing 737: A fleet expansion is stopped for now.

Early last year, Rwandair presented a plan to expand its fleet. At the time, airline boss Yvonne Makolo explained that the company intends to purchase two Boeing 737 Max and two Airbus A330 Neo each. The state-owned airline wanted to use the aircraft to fly from the Rwandan capital Kigali to new destinations – such as New York with the A330 Neo.

Now, Rwandair is refraining from expansion, as Makolo told Flightglobal. The decision against the Max had already been made before the Coronavirus crisis. According to the report, the airline wanted to lease the Airbus A330 Neo from Air Lease Corporation, and the Boeing 737 Max from SMBC Aviation Capital.

Is Rwandair doing it like Air Italy?

Due to the current uncertainties, the fleet will be left unchanged for the time being, the airline’s boss says. A reorganisation is then planned with the future new partner Qatar Airways. The Doha-based airline announced in February that it would take over 49 per cent of Rwandair. Makolo states that the talks on this deal are still ongoing.

Makolo also indicates that her airline wants to make its fleet more uniform. It currently consists of one Airbus A330-200, one A330-300, four Boeing 737-800, two 737-700, two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 and two Bombardier CRJ 900. If the deal with Qatar Airways goes through, Rwandair could lease aircraft from the Qatar-based airline. Qatar’s former investment Air Italy, which has since disappeared from the market, had also leased aircraft from the Gulf airline.

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