Thursday, July 14, 2016

RwandAir to launch Mumbai flight in December 2016

by Soumen Mukherjee



Rwandan national carrier RwandAir has finalised plans to launch direct flight to Mumbai from its hub in Kigali in December 2016. The proposed service includes a stop-over in Dar es Salaam in both direction as the airline plans to leverage its fifth freedom traffic rights to carry passengers solely between India and Tanzania. RwandAir, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is gearing up to launch long/mid-haul flights with wide-body aircraft. And Mumbai is going to be one of its first few mid-haul/wide-body destinations along with Dubai and possibly Guangzhou. It currently operates an all narrow-body fleet and has one Airbus A330-200 and one A330-300 on order which are likely to join fleet in the next couple of months.

The airline will operate four weekly flights on the 5,834 km (3,150 nm) Mumbai-Dar es salaam-Kigali route on board its brand new Airbus A330-300Though RwandAir would love to cater transfer passengers across its network of 15 African cities from its Kigali hub. But a stopover at Dar es Salaam between Mumbai and Kigali would make onward connections from Kigali a two-stop proposition. And it looks like, the flight is rather designed to serve Mumbai-Dar es Salaam sector better as air-travel demand is high between the city-pair with almost 50 thousand strong Indian diaspora (PIO and NRI) in Tanzania. Currently no other carrier operates on either Mumbai-Dar es Salaam or Mumbai-Kigali routes. Although, Air India CMD  Ashwani Lohani recently revealed that Air India is studying feasibility of resuming Dar es salaam and Nairobi routes where it used to fly until 2010. Hopefully Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to there results into some new flights to East Africa.
 
Mumbai route featured in RwandAir's in-flight magazine

India-Africa air-connectivity
There is already good demand of air-travel between Africa and India and the potential is huge with 
growing trade and tourism links. The presence of large Indian diaspora, thousands of African students studying in India and large number of African people visiting India for high end medical facilities are the only few reasons which make the case for a better air-connectivity more appealing. According to DGCA passenger data, six African carriers carried a total of 580,832 passengers between India and Africa in 2015. Major African network carriers like Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance) and Kenya Airways (SkyTeam) which operate 14 weekly flights to Delhi and Mumbai and 12 weekly flights to Mumbai respectively, carry as much as 70-80% connecting passengers to other African destinations via their hub. Currently no Indian airline flies to Africa.

Among the major metro airports in India, Mumbai is relatively better connected to Africa partly due to its geographical proximity to the continent. As many as five different African airlines currently operate direct flights to Mumbai including Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines & Kenya Airways. South African Airways also used to serve Mumbai but it discontinued in 2015. At present, Air Mauritius and Ethiopian Airlines are the only two airlines to provide direct African link to Delhi. Notably, most African flights to Mumbai are actually from the east coast due to India's strong commercial and diaspora links to that region.

2 comments:

  1. Korean Air plans to launch non-stop direct flight to Delhi from its Seoul Incheon hub in December 2016. Delhi features prominently among the new routes the carrier mulling as part of its long-haul international network revamp. The airline is also planning to launch a direct flight to Tehranבתי מלון בחו"ל

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice and interesting information and informative too.
    Can you please let me know the good attraction places we can visit: Mumbai To Dubai flight

    ReplyDelete