RwandAir May Offer Shares After Returning to Profit in Two Years

RwandAir, Rwanda’s state-owned national airline, may sell shares to private investors once the company returns to profit in two years, Chief Executive Officer John Mirenge said.

The carrier, based in the capital, Kigali, boosted passenger numbers by 80 percent to 360,000 last year and expects a further 39 percent increase this year, Mirenge said in an interview on Feb. 7. That coupled with an expanding fleet and more destinations should help the company report a profit by 2015, he said.

“To be able to privatize or send floating shares to stock markets, there is a beautification process that takes place,” Mirenge said. “This process includes breaking even, keeping track records and engaging in a standardization process.”

RwandAir, which started flying in 2002, operates a fleet of two Boeing Co. 737-800s, two Boeing 737-500s, two Bombardier Inc. CRJ-900 NextGens and a Bombardier Dash-8 100 that serve 12 destinations, according to Mirenge. This year the airline will take delivery of two Boeing 737-700s as it retires the 737-500s, he said.

The new aircraft will provide feeder flights that connect passengers arriving in Rwanda to destinations including Johannesburg, Lagos and Dubai, Mirenge said.

RwandAir will begin flying to the South Sudanese capital, Juba, along with the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar and the Ghanaian capital, Accra, by May, Mirenge said. Flights to Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, and Cape Town will be added later this year, he said.

Rwanda’s government owns 99 percent of RwandAir.