Rwandair Applies For New York Flights

RwandAir, Rwanda’s national carrier, is seeking authority to fly to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) via Accra, Ghana. The airline is seeking fifth Freedom Traffic Rights to use Accra as a stopping point from Kigali. If approved, the airline would use its Airbus A330s on the route.

The latest request comes two years after the airline first announced plans for a New York route with a similar fifth-freedom service featuring a stop in Accra. At the time, the carrier envisaged beginning service in mid-2019, but the route failed to sell.

The East African airline reportedly applied to the US Transportation Department (DOT) to begin scheduled service in December, requesting authority to fly between any point or points in Rwanda and any point or points in the US.

If approved, flights will connect Kigali International in East Africa with Accra’s Kotoka International in West Africa, before journeying to JFK.

Delta Air Lines is currently the only airline flying nonstop between the US and Ghana, operating between JFK and Accra daily. However, United Airlines intends to start a thrice-weekly flight to Accra from Washington Dulles in May.

RwandAir is one of the fastest growing airlines operating from Kigali as its main hub. It operates one of the youngest fleets on the African continent, which comprises of four Boeing 737-800s, two Boeing 737-700s, two Bombardier CRJ900s and two Bombardier Q400s in dual class configurations as well as two new triple-class Airbus A330s.

After months of lockdown last year, RwandAir resumed commercial flights in August 2020 across its global network, including most of its African routes as well as some long-haul destinations such as to London Heathrow, Brussels and Dubai.

RwandAir recently suspended flights to three southern African countries amid concerns over a new Covid-19 variant there. According to a statement released on Sunday suspended routes include Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lusaka and Harare.

“Scheduled flights will resume as soon as there is more clarity on the situation”, the airline said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date at no additional cost or request for a fund,” reads part of the statement.

The airline began operations as the new national carrier under the name Rwandair Express on Dec 1, 2002 as it continued with a concession to carry out airport ground handling at Kigali International Airport.

In March 2009, the airline registered a new trademark for “RwandAir,” which is its current operating name.


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