Aug 27, 2018: In a process to boost its belly cargo capacity, RwandAir plans to invest in new aircraft and competitive airfreight charges as it seeks to diversify earnings that are under pressure from high operational costs.

In 2019, RwandAir expects four aircraft as it takes on new routes to the US, Asia, Europe and deeper into Africa. Chief executive Yvonne Makolo said two Airbus A330 new engine option and two Boeing 737 MAX 8-narrow body aeroplanes are expected in July 2019.

"RwandAir long-haul aircraft, which fly to and from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and African airports and the planned US and China routes are expected to drive the growth," the airline said.

Though the aircraft are passenger-configured, aviation experts say they have significant belly capacity for cargo. The airlines cargo space sales have remained low, though the business picked up last year. Airfreight grew from 8,000 tonnes in 2016 to 13,000 tonnes in the 12 months ending December 2017, driven by RwandAir's growing network and fleet.

The volume of air cargo at Kigali International Airport is expected to grow by 30 percent, touching 16,900 tonnes by December 2018.

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