COVID-19 Prompts RwandAir To Stop Flying To India


RwandAir has today announced the suspension of flights between Kigali and Mumbai in India following an unprecedented surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Asian nation. RwandAir’s decision to suspend flights to India follows on from a similar move made by Kenya Airways and Uganda Airlines, who both stopped flying to India on May 1.

RwandAir_Airbus_A330-243_on_finals_into_Toulouse (1)
RwandAir has stopped flying to India because of COVID-19. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia

“Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases across India, RwandAir announces the suspension of its flights to Mumbai effective May 1, 2021, until further notice,” a statement issued by RwandAir reads.

“Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date, once flights resume, at no additional cost. They can request a travel voucher or a refund as well.

“RwandAir apologizes for the inconveniences caused.”

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COVID-19 cases in India continue to rise

For the 12th straight day, India has reported more than 300,000 new infections while the number of deaths continues to grow to unprecedented levels. Hospitals are at a breaking point, and with ventilators, oxygen, and medical personnel all in short supply, the situation is getting worse.

RwandAir Mumbai
RwandAir serves Mumbai from Kigali. Image: GCmaps

With crematoriums overloaded, makeshift funeral fires are springing up in car parks around cities like New Delhi. In the only positive news surrounding the Indian COVID-19 surge, data modeling experts predict that cases could peak next Wednesday. They are saying this because, for the first time since April 15, the number of people testing positive relative to the number of tests given declined.

The number could be much higher

According to Indian Health Ministry data, the number of people infected stands at around 20 million, of whom 219,000 have died. However, medical experts are skeptical of the government numbers and say the real figures may be ten times higher. India has a population of 1.35 billion people.

Kenya Airways B777-300ER
Kenya Airways has also suspended flights to India. Photo: Getty Images.

Many Indian’s are blaming the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the current crisis for letting large crowds gather for election rallies and religious festivals. If the mass gatherings had been canceled, India might not be in the position it is today.

With numbers continuing to rise and no lockdowns in place, airlines and governments worldwide are now suspending flights to India.

RwandAir resumes flights to Johannesburg

Better news from the RwandAir press room is the resumption of flights to Johannesburg, South Africa starting May 7, 2021. RwandAir suspended all flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lusaka, and Harare on February 8, 2021, over fears of the South African strain of the virus. While service is resuming to Johannesburg, flights to Cape Town are still suspended until further notice.

Anyone traveling to Rwanda or transiting through Kigali International Airport (KGL) will need to prove a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours before departure.

While India certainly seems like a no-go country, for the time being, other places have weathered the storm better and are looking to attract vaccinated tourists this summer. A good indicator of where you can go for a summer vacation will be the much anticipated United Kingdom “Green List” of counties deemed safe for travel. According to a report from Reuters published just minutes ago, the announcement could come as soon as Friday, May 7.

Have you ever flown on RwandAir? If so, please tell us what you think about them in the comments.