Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir on Tuesday commenced operating its first flight to China, linking the Rwandan capital Kigali to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
The maiden flight took off about 1 a.m. (2300 GMT on Monday) from Kigali International Airport, flying to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport via India’s Mumbai.
Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, Minister of state in charge of Transport in the Ministry of Infrastructure, and Yvonne Manzi Makolo, RwandAir CEO, boarded the flight with other passengers.
The duration of the flight is 14 hours and 50 minutes, making it the longest flight of RwandAir, according to the airline.
RwandAir will fly to Guangzhou three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The flight will be operated by an Airbus A330 with a triple class cabin.
“With the increasing volume of trade between African countries and China, the need to meet the high demand of businessmen and traders travelling between Africa and Guangzhou is strongly felt. This new route will open new business opportunities and also increase our passenger and cargo traffic,” Makolo said in a statement in May.
The new route extends RwandAir’s network to 28 destinations. Guangzhou has become its second destination in Asia following Mumbai, which has been operational since April 2017.
With a fleet of 12 aircraft including two Airbus A330, the airline currently reaches destinations across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.