National carrier, RwandAir has received the second Bombadier CRJ 900 NextGen aircraft.The First aircraft was delivered two weeks ago, and begun its test flights last Thursday. Both crafts have the capacity to seat 75 passengers including seven business class seats. “It made its first flight last week for suitability test to its destinations. It had to be tested here and tested where it will be flying to,” explained RwandAir Chief Executive Officer, John Mirenge. The two planes were purchased at a cost of US23m each with a top up loan from Canada Export Development Bank. The latest acquisition will see new destinations added to the existing ones in the region. The delivery of the planes makes RwandAir the first operator of CRJ900 aircraft in Eastern Africa. The new Rwandair destinations will include Juba (South Sudan), Duara in Cameroon, Zambia and Zanzibar. The Minister of State for Transport, Alexis Nzahabwanimana, said the acquisition of the new planes was in line with government’s strategy of expanding the aviation sector. There actions include expanding Kigali International Airport and building a new airport in Bugesera.
“The air transport is more than a source of revenue. As foreigners fly in and out with your jet, they get to know the country more and this leads to more investment here,”Minister Nzahabwanimana said, adding that investing in air transport is essential for a land locked country like Rwanda.About the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft The Bombardier CRJ900 is a twin-engined regional airliner with a maximum capacity of 90 passengers. It was developed to follow in the success of Bombardier’s hugely popular CRJ100, CRJ200 and CRJ700 jets. The first flight took place on February 21, 2001. In January 2003, the Mesa Air Group received the first aircraft on behalf of America West Express. After initially registering low sales, Bombardier announced a number of improvements in March 2005, like improved take-off and landing performance, and lower fuel consumption. Sales dramatically shot up. It has a maximum cruise speed of 881 km/hr. Its lightweight and advanced aerodynamics enable the CRJ900 jet to deliver improved efficiency and reduced operating costs compared to other aircraft in its class. It boasts of larger winglets which ensure excellent airfield performance and minimal fuel consumption. It has superb interior décor, with larger overhead luggage bins, larger windows, improved lighting and redesigned ceiling panels and sidewalls. The hugely popular jets are used by more than 60 airline companies across the globe. Together, they have amassed more than 32 million flight hours and 27 million take-off and landing cycles. Photo: Timothy Kisambira/The New Times