RwandAir’s New Guangzhou Route Performs “Beyond Expectations”

RwandAir has revealed that its Kigali to Guangzhou service has been performing well since it launched back in June. In a press statement sent to Simple Flying, RwandAir says the route has been a “resounding success” with business and leisure travellers alike.

View of Mount Kilimanjaro from Window of RwandAir Jet - Tanzania
RwandAir’s expansion towards China has been going well. Photo: Adam Jones via Flickr

RwandAir says its fights from the Rwandan capital Kigali to Guangzhou, China have performed “beyond expectations” during their first four months in operation.

Guangzhou became RwandAir’s second destination in Asia after Mumbai, which was introduced to passengers back in April 2017. The Kigali to Guangzhou route is actually an extension of RwandAir’s Kigali to Mumbai service, meaning it now connects Mumbai and Guangzhou with fifth freedom flights.

Rwandair’s Kigali to Guangzhou service, which operates three times per week, has proven to be popular. Discussing the route’s success, RwandAir’s CEO, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, said:

While it’s too early to say whether we will add additional capacity with increased services to Guangzhou, our first destination in China, we’re delighted by the initial response from customers.”

An unlikely success

Somewhat understandably, RwandAir’s announcement of flights to Guangzhou raised a few eyebrows at first. China has invested massively across the continent of Africa, and Rwanda is no exception. China is Rwanda’s largest exporting partner, making up 21.24% of its total export share value in 2016.

A RwandAir Boeing 737
China has invested massively all across Africa. Photo: Bob Adams via Flickr

This connection means that there is a healthy market for business flights between Kigali and China. Being China’s third-largest city, which is also close to the important business center of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is was the ideal candidate for RwandAir’s first Chinese destination.

RwandAir also wanted to select a location that would generate new passenger traffic and help boost Rwanda’s economy which is one of the more competitive in the region.

A country and an airline with big plans

There are many airlines across the African continent, but not all of them can be classed as successful.

Rwandair is still small, but it’s going about its expansion the right way. It’s making smart decisions as it expands its offering, as shown by the Kigali to Guangzhou route.

More importantly, however, Rwanda itself has big plans for the future. Although it’s not the richest or most well off country in Africa, or even the best poised to take advantage of natural resources, Rwanda is business-friendly.

Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame wants to turn Rwanda into the ‘Singapore of Africa’.

A RwandAir Boeing 737
RwandAir has one of the youngest fleets in the world. Photo: Bob Adams via Flickr

As far ambitions go, that’s a high target to set. Singapore is one of the richest, safest and most politically stable countries in the world.

Tourism and travel, both for leisure and business, are a vital way for a country to open itself to the outside world.

With its current fleet of just 12 aircraft, RwandAir has limited capacity to expand much further than the local region for now.

It does have the advantage of a very young fleet. Its average fleet age is up there with the youngest in the world. This means that, as far as future-proofing and setting itself apart from regional competitors goes, RwandAir has a lot of potential.