David Meshioye

Heaven On Earth

In a continent plagued with aviation hazards which stem from bad weather and poor aircraft maintenance, RwandAir has emerged as Africa’s fastest growing airline, whose global and regional presence has given travelers a new hope, writes Complete Sports’ David Meshioye

 

In the land of many hills (Rwanda) there’s so much to see and do, that it’s hard for tourists to fit in everything into their itinerary. The diversity of nature, wildlife and historical sites means there’s something to inspire and enlighten. But one of Rwanda’s newest experience for tourists and journalists that covered the just concluded Orange Africa Championship in Kigali, Rubavu and Wuye is RwandAir  an airline that brings delightful flying experience to all.

For a country ravaged by one of the world’s worst genocides, which saw over one million people slaughtered, the country was left with the option to either sink or swim, but it is no small achievement that Rwanda has managed to stay afloat, coming up with one of Africa’s best brands in terms of aviation.

For two Complete Sports journalists, (David Meshioye and Adeboye Amosu) Flying the airline to this holiday country was indeed a remarkable experience. When the deal was brokered by Nigeria’s No.1 sports publication, no one knew what to expect. Ordinarily, it is always a hard sell for frequent flyers to try new airlines once they get stuck to one particular airline, but flying RwandAir for the first time will get you thinking and believing that the only thing that is constant in life is change.

 

While the airline  is blessed with other larger aircraft, flight W20 which frequents Lagos-Kigali route on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is relatively a large one, it is impossible to imagine the plane’s interior until you see it with your eyes. When you step into the aircraft, their ever smiling air hostesses welcome you on board and will go out of their way to help you locate your seat if you have difficulty finding it. Clean, punctual, organized and friendly just like the country Rwanda, RwandAir has come to take its place among its global competitors. Little wonder the United Nations recently commended the airline safety record, declaring unrestricted use of the airline for official staff travels.

It is extremely difficult for passengers to miss their flight and the Complete Sports journalists can lay credence to that fact. Famished and worn out after early hour Lagos traffic on their departure date. The duo resolved to go for plates of amala and ewedu, few minutes after counter check-in by efficient RwandAir staff. Unknown to David and Boye the check in had commenced, while they talked over plates of Amala a few meters outside MMA, frantic efforts were being made by airline staff to locate them. By the time they emerged with

David Meshioye1sweat flowing down their chins and toothpicks hanging on their lips, little did they know they almost missed their flight. It took the smart efforts of staffs who had to bundle them through the long queue for boarding to prevent that.

Even though the airline don’t encourage lateness to airport from their passengers, they still go out of their way to ensure you don’t miss your flight, especially if you’re within the airport premises, but it is important passengers check-in to the departure lounge immediately you’re through with check in modalities.

What is more fascinating about RwandAir is their in- flight hospitality. For passengers who travel light with little or no food, you can bank on this great airline to feed you to your satisfaction- all you need to do is ask and it shall be given. The airline is one out of many airlines that feed their passengers twice on board before arrival and if you have a baby or kids on board, its  hostesses are on hand to assist you with your kids and make life comfortable for your baby.

 

Only recently the airline announced the purchase of two new airbus A330s, which will be delivered in the second half of 2016. This will take its aircraft fleet to eleven  (counting also a brand new Boeing 737-800 set to join the airline’s fleet in 2016), enabling the airline to expand to  destinations in Europe and Asia. The fascinating fact about airbus A330 is its 60.3

 

meters wing span, external light that flashes more than 4, 000 times per hour and more than 700 lamps, LEDs and lighting devices inside the aircraft. RwandAir will also be the first in the continent to boast internet connections for use by passengers. Besides, the airbus A330 is also protected against 10 million volts of lightning, in the event it should strike the aircraft.

In preparation for the arrival of the new A330 airbus, this aviation giant ran a campaign “YiteNawe”  to find names fit for the aircraft. After the collation of entries with almost 1,000 names submitted, A330-200 will be called Ubumwe, which means ‘Unity” and the A330-300 will be called Umurage, meaning ‘Legacy’. The names Ubumwe and Umurage will be painted on the sides of the aircraft. For thousands of Nigerians who have to save hundreds of thousands of naira before purchasing flight tickets to the Far East for business purposes, the airline is the best option with moderate ticket fares.

Even though turbulence doesn’t bring down flights, it is interesting to know that most people still dread flying due to bumps in the sky. But one doesn’t have to worry while on board because its competent Captains and Flight Officers will always go out of their way to ensure the plane avoids all turbulence. I bet RwandAir is definitely your kind of airline.

For a country rising from the ashes of war, President Paul Kagame deserves all the plaudits for building a commendable brand . In other developing but rich African nations, one can hardly find a national carrier. More importantly, Kigali the Rwandan capital, is quickly gaining reputation for the safe cosmopolitan atmosphere, café culture, 24 hours movement, fun night spots and interesting places to visit for tourists. Ask Nigerian music stars like PSQUARE (a Gorilla is named after the musical duo ), DAVIDO etc  who were once invited by President Kagame to attend the annual Gorilla festival and they will attest to the fact that Rwanda is a bursting metropolis where you will enjoy a good time, no matter when you visit.

Adegboye AmosunRwandAir partnership with Africa’s biggest daily sports newspaper, Complete Sports, is a sign of great things to come and the airline’s love for sports in the continent. The airline is already proving to all that Rwanda is not a country solely about genocide but a nation that is determined to put its past behind and grow in leaps and bounds, as it work towards Vision 2020. The message is simple; however poor or bad a start you may have experienced in life, no matter your losses, always remember failure and disappointments are bedrocks of life’s success stories.Rwanda as a nation is leading the way and has showed that there is much you can achieve once you keep working on your dreams. And just as the slogans goes:Be like the ant, don’t wait for the good times to start working!

Rwanda is one of Africa’s best kept secrets! Being such a vast land, it is hard to see all the country has to offer in just one trip. You don’t know what it means to rise from rock-bottom until you visit Rwanda and a trip with RwandAir will definitely be an ideal one for you. So when you are planning your next holiday, remember to put this beautiful nation on top of your list.

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