Earlier today, the national carrier of Rwanda announced it will temporarily halt all flights for the next 30 days in light of the coronavirus pandemic. RwandAir joins an ever-growing list of airlines who have taken the decision to temporarily cease operations.
RwandAir announced today that it will be canceling all flights for a period of 30 days. The flight cancellation will go into effect as of 11.59 pm tomorrow, Friday 20th March, and the airline says it will apply to all flights departing from and arriving in Rwanda.
Discussing the drastic measures in a press statement, a RwandAir spokesperson said,
“We are extremely sorry for the disruption and uncertainty this announcement will cause for our customers.”
How will the new measures affect RwandAir passengers who have already bought tickets?
While the upcoming flight cancellations mean customers will no longer be able to purchase tickets for RwandAir flights for at least the next month, many passengers have already bought tickets for flights during this period. However, the airline has outlined a number of options available to passengers who have already bought tickets.
Passengers will be able to rebook flights for a later date and the airline will be waiving all change fees in order to reduce inconvenience as much as possible. RwandAir passengers who wish to cancel their flights for refunds are advised to contact RwandAir directly.
RwandAir’s last flight… for now
Depending on how the coronavirus pandemic progresses over the next few weeks, airlines around the world may be forced to extend their flight cancellations well into summer. Tomorrow RwandAir will fly its last flight for at least a month.
RwandAir’s final flight will depart the Rwandan capital Kigali tomorrow at 01:00, bound for London Gatwick. The return leg of the flight will depart London Gatwick at 11:00, making a stop at Brussels, where it will depart at 14:00, arriving back in Kigali at 22:30 in the evening.
A tough but necessary decision
While the decision to cancel all flights for the next month will undoubtedly result in a big financial hit for RwandAir, the current situation means that the airline doesn’t really have any other choice. Carriers across the world have been forced to halt operations as a means of tackling the spread of COVID-19, and aircraft manufacturers have warned they are fighting for survival.
As of yesterday, Rwanda reported a total of 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest figure in the East African community, according to reports by KT Press. Now that coronavirus appears to have a foothold in the country, Rwanda’s government has increased precautions to halt the spread of the disease.
Rwanda’s government released a statement yesterday, asking all citizens to “Continue to observe the instructions of health authorities, particularly washing hands regularly, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting unnecessary movements.”
Meanwhile, RwandAir says it is “confident the temporary suspension of our operations will help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”
Simple Flying has reached out to RwandAir with a request for comment on contingency plans for its employees over the coming month. The airline hasn’t been able to respond yet, but we will update this article once we receive more information.