RwandAir (WB, Kigali) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) for two A300s - one A330-200 and one A330-300 - due for delivery during the second half of next year. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B motors, the aircraft are the carrier's first widebodies and the first A330s ordered by an airline in East Africa.

"As we look to introduce wide body aircraft for the first time into our fleet, with its proven economics, reliability and passenger comfort, we have found the A330 to perfectly support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share," the airline's maverick CEO, John Mirenge, said.

In the past, Mirenge has touted a possible entry into the Asian market with flights to Mumbai Int'l, Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou, and Beijing Capital in 2016/17 while Europe should follow in 2017/18.

RwandAir serves sixteen destinations in the Middle East as well as in West, South, and East Africa using a fleet of two B737-700s, two B737-800s, two CRJ-900s, and one Dash 8-400. A second Dash 8-400 will be leased from Palma Holding. The decision to go with Airbus throws into doubt the airline's earlier plans to commit to two B787-8s from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) - msn 35507 and 35508 - that were originally destined for Royal Air Maroc (AT, Casablanca Int'l) but never taken up.