RwandAir is one of Africa’s two airlines that fascinates me most (along with TAAG Angola), and I’ve been wanting to fly with them. RwandAir has a fantastic A330 business class product consisting of Vantage XL seats, which are similar to what you’ll find in SAS business class.
RwandAir flies their A330s to Dubai, and in May also began flying 3x weekly between Kigali and London Gatwick, which represents their first route to Europe. This is an exciting development for a fairly young airline with a small fleet. They’ve even considering adding flights to New York in the next few years, which very much seems like a prestige route rather than a profit-driven route.
Today I saw a headline that RwandAir is also starting 3x weekly flights to Brussels, which caught me off guard, since I wondered where they got the additional plane from for the route (RwandAir only has a total of two A330s as of now).
As it turns out, RwandAir’s new Kigali to Brussels flight is simply a continuation of their current London service. As of July 14, 2017, RwandAir will operate their Kigali to London service as follows:
WB700 Kigali to Brussels departing 10:30AM arriving 7:00PM
WB700 Brussels to London Gatwick departing 8:10PM arriving 8:25PM
WB700 London Gatwick to Kigali departing 9:50PM arriving 7:30AM (+1 day)
Interestingly Brussels Airlines also flies to Kigali, and they have one stop on the outbound (in Entebbe, Uganda), and a nonstop on the return. Meanwhile there’s no other airline flying nonstop from London to Kigali.
What does this destination addition suggest to me?
- RwandAir’s loads on the nonstop Kigali to London flight aren’t great, which is hardly surprising, so they’re trying to find a way to improve that
- Brussels is another city with a decent amount of demand to Kigali, so hopefully between the two airports they can fill the plane reasonably well; the yields don’t seem to be great, but I doubt RwandAir is expecting them to be
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can book RwandAir just from Brussels to London Gatwick, at least not yet. If it were possible, that sure would be a fun way to fly between the two cities. It reminds me of Garuda Indonesia’s old route between Amsterdam and London Gatwick, which was discontinued in March 2016.
I’m hoping to fly RwandAir sometime soon, and maybe this “triangle” flight is a good one on which to experience their longhaul product. RwandAir’s business class fares in the market are pretty solid, typically around ~$2,000 roundtrip between Europe and Africa, and sometimes even lower.
If they still can’t fill up the plane with this new stop, maybe they’ll add New York into the mix while they’re at it — Kigali to Brussels to London to New York to Kigali. 😉