KIGALI, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda's national airline RwandAir has launched first direct commercial flight to Gatwick International Airport, London's second busiest airport.
The airline's flight took off from Kigali International Airport on Friday afternoon en route to Gatwick International Airport, adding it to its network of 22 destinations worldwide.
The new route will be operated by recently acquired brand new Airbus A330 aircraft that boasts of in-flight connectivity.
The airline will fly to London three times a week and is expected to boost tourism and trade between the UK and Rwanda.
Speaking to reporters shortly after launching London flight destination, the airline's deputy chief executive officer in charge of corporate affairs, Yvonne Manzi Makolo said that the airline has embarked on expanding its wings to far destinations in order to serve a large clientele of travellers to visit Rwanda.
"It's great step for our country, because it will bring us closer to our trade partners and sources of tourists. Rwanda will be making a big impact as a must-visit country," she added.
Last year, the airline acquired its first A330-200 and A330-300 Airbus planes, boosting its fleet to 11 aircraft and capacity to compete globally.
It is also scheduled to take delivery of another brand new Boeing before end of May.
This direct seamless long-haul flight is an important milestone towards improving trade relations between Rwanda, the European continent.
RwandAir carried more than 650,000 passengers last year and projects to transport over three million in the next five years.
The Rwanda aviation industry which has become one of the largest and most profitable airlines in East Africa has continued to spread wings across Africa and beyond.
The airline has been growing at an average of 20 percent in the last six years and is currently positioning itself as the most efficient and reliable airline in the region, according to figures from the Rwanda's ministry of infrastructure.
The airline has 11 aircraft and expects delivery of the 12th, a Boeing 737-800, in May.