In a recent podcast interview with Jon Howell, host of the AviaDev Inside Africa podcast, Makolo shared insights into the airline’s current and future expansion plans. Here are some of the key takeaways from the interview:
RwandAir’s network strategy is all about connecting the unconnected. The airline has been expanding its routes to underserved markets in Europe, Asia, and Africa. As Makolo explained, “We want to create Kigali as a regional hub and an alternative to other airports in the East African region.”
But it’s not just about adding more routes. RwandAir’s focus on connectivity within Africa is especially critical given the continent’s historical lack of air travel infrastructure. “We’re trying to bridge the gap,” Makolo said. “We’re trying to make sure that people can travel within the continent without having to transit through Europe or the Middle East.”
RwandAir’s cargo operations have been a game-changer for the airline. With Rwanda being landlocked, air cargo has become a significant revenue stream. The airline exports fresh produce to Dubai, Brussels, and London, and has seen double-digit growth in revenue on the cargo side of the business. “We see a lot of potential in cargo,” Makolo said. “It’s an area where we want to grow.”
To support its expansion plans, RwandAir is set to receive another A330 aircraft. The airline currently has 12 aircraft, including Airbus A330s, Boeing 737s, and Bombardier CRJs, but Makolo revealed that there are plans to add more aircraft to the fleet. “We want to expand our fleet to support our network expansion and cargo operations,” she said.
Appointment to IATA Board
Makolo’s appointment to the IATA Board of Governors is a significant achievement for both RwandAir and the African aviation industry as a whole. As the first woman from Africa to sit on the Board, Makolo will help set the direction for the global aviation industry. “It’s a recognition of the work that RwandAir is doing,” she said. “It shows that we’re not only a regional player, but we’re also having an impact globally.”
RwandAir’s expansion plans are an exciting development for the airline and the African aviation industry. As Makolo and her team continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, they’re proving that African airlines can compete on the global stage.
To listen to Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the CEO of RwandAir, discuss the airline’s current and future expansion plans in more detail, check out her recent podcast interview with Jon Howell on the AviaDev Inside Africa podcast.