RwandAir (WB, Kigali) has confirmed it has cancelled leases for two A330-900Ns and two B737-8s amid protracted delays in their respective deliveries.

“We can confirm that, as reported, RwandAir’s decision to no longer move forward with its order of two Airbus A330neos and two Boeing 737 Max aircraft is correct", Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Makolo confirmed to ch-aviation but declined to elaborate.

The A330-900s were ordered through Air Lease Corporation while the B737-8 MAX was due to be leased from SMBC Aviation Capital. All four were ordered in 2018 and were expected to have arrived in 2019. The airline had planned to use the A330-900 to start New York JFK services, but various delays meant none had been received by the time the pandemic happened, while the decision to can the B737 MAX was taken before the COVID-19 crisis.

According to FlightGlobal, Makolo confirmed ongoing talks with Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) for a 49% stake in the Rwandan national carrier. She said the airline would review its fleet plans with its future partner. In the meantime, RwandAir will retain its current fleet status after having scaled down its network-expansion plans amid the current crisis.

According to ch-aviation fleets advanced module, RwandAir currently has six aircraft in active service, including one A330-300, three B737-800s, one CRJ900ER, and one Dash 8-400. Its only A330-200, one B737-800, two B737-700s, one CRJ900, and one Q400 are currently inactive.

RwandAir resumed scheduled passenger operations on August 1, 2020, and is gradually re-introducing its network in line with customer demand, focussing on restoring key intra-African routes, the airline told ch-aviation.

The latest routes to be restored include Abuja and Accra on September 14, 2020; as well as Lagos on September 18, 2020.