RwandAir has been building a strong reputation for its service quality, reliability, and efficiency. Vennah Mukumburwa, Country Manager, RwandAir, India, provides insights into the airline’s impressive growth, solidifying its position as one of Africa’s, fastest-growing airlines.
– Prashant Nayak
RwandAir, the national flag carrier of Rwanda, has a mix of regional and long-haul routes, with a focus on connecting underserved markets and driving economic growth in the region. RwandAir’s Kigali hub also provides quick connections to its extensive network of flights reaching across Africa to countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Vennah Mukumburwa recently took the role of Country Manager, and she aims to ensure excellence and foster professional development. A devoted aviation professional with 15 years of experience, she is demonstrating progression within RwandAir while being an expert in customer service, management, operations, and sales. Before her deputation in India, she served as Sales Manager for RwandAir, Tanzania-Dar es Salaam, from 2019 to 2023.
RwandAir’s primary focus at the moment is amplifying the customer experience. Vennah emphasises, “This encompasses a multitude of facets, including, but not limited to, optimising on-time performance and expanding our network. We recognise that each of these elements plays a vital role in crafting a superior and memorable journey for our passengers.” Currently, RwandAir operates flights to and from Mumbai. Passengers can seamlessly connect to over 25 destinations across its network via its Kigali hub, all while enjoying exceptional on-time performance.
Living up to customer expectations has always been important for the airline. “Our customers are our utmost priority. Every action we undertake is aimed at delivering the best possible customer experience. This encompasses understanding their needs and continually exploring innovative ways to enhance our services,” points out Vennah.
Considering the huge competition in air travel, it is also important to retain frequent flyers. “To attract a higher number of our frequent flyers, we focus on understanding the unique needs and preferences of our passengers and continuously strive to offer personalised services and benefits. Through our loyalty programme, we aim to provide exclusive rewards, benefits, and conveniences that distinguish us from the competition,” says Vennah.
The airline is also quick to react to the grievances of customers and travel partners and resolve them immediately. Vennah mentions, “We take proactive approaches like conducting regular service level audits to continually improve the customer experience and address any potential dissatisfaction promptly.”
After the pandemic, there are still many challenges faced by airlines across the globe, among which the price of aviation fuel is a primary concern. “Airlines fall into a sector typically vulnerable to global fluctuations such as fuel price shifts and various political and economic situations that influence operational costs. However, RwandAir is privileged to benefit from visionary leadership and management that proactively anticipates or plans for such adverse scenarios,” asserts Vennah.
The airline has been rapidly growing its fleet size and route network over the past few years, with a focus on connecting Rwanda to the rest of Africa and beyond. “We have recently initiated three-weekly flights to Paris from our hub in Kigali, with more destinations on the horizon. So, stay tuned for more! Our current operations employ a state-of-the-art fleet featuring aircraft from leading manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing, among others,” reveals Vennah. In March 2023, the airline received its third long-haul aircraft, an Airbus A330-200, allowing the airline to further expand its long-haul operation between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Sustainability is a paramount consideration for airlines in today’s world, and RwandAir is fully committed to it. Vennah emphasises, “We view ourselves as members of the global community and actively promote sustainability. This includes operating an eco-friendly young fleet. Additionally, in alignment with Rwanda’s stance, we’ve embraced the ban on polythene bags.”
India’s aviation industry is witnessing an exciting phase post-pandemic. When asked about the potential for multiple airlines to thrive in the Indian market, Vennah says, “The Indian aviation market is vast and continues to grow. With its expanding economy and increasing demand for air travel, there’s certainly room for multiple airlines to succeed. Also, the recovery in the aviation industry has truly been a breath of fresh air! We’re witnessing a rebound that’s surpassing the earlier projections by IATA. It’s a promising time, and there’s a palpable sense of optimism breezing through the airline corridors. We’re all quite buoyed by the positive turn of events.”