RwandAir, the national flag carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, has taken delivery of a new Airbus A330-200 to become the first airline in East Africa to deploy the aircraft type.The African carrier signed a firm purchase contract with Airbus for an A330-200 and A330-300 in September last year and the larger -300 is scheduled to join the airline’s fleet in November.Both A330s are powered with Rolls Royce Trent 772B engines and feature a three-class cabin layout. The A330-200 has 244 seats, including 20 fully flat business class seats, 21 premium economy seats and 203 standard economy class seats. The A330-300 will have 274 seats – 30 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 223 in economy class.The new Airbus widebody will “help boost RwandAir’s capacity to expand its wings globally,” according to airline chief executive John Mirenge.The A330 is RwandAir’s ninth aircraft and its first widebody. It joins a fleet comprising two Boeing 737-800NG, two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ900NG, two Bombardier Q-400NextGen, all in dual class configuration.Rwandair began operations in December, 2002, as the new national carrier under the name Rwandair Express. Its purpose was to provide passenger air transportation to and from the country while building up Kilgali into an emerging hub for sub-Saharan Africa. It also has the concession to carry out airport ground handling at Kigali International Airport.In March 2009, the airline registered a new trademark “RwandAir” and launched a new phase of its development. Its network currently spans 18 destinations in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa and the Middle East following the launch on September 2 of flights to Cotonou in Benin. The three-times weekly service is tagged to the existing Kigali – Douala and Libreville routes.It will commence a new three-times weekly service to Abidjan, Ivory Coast on October 7. Flights to Abidjan will be tagged with Accra, the capital of Ghana. Both new routes are operated with Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft.“With the addition of these two destinations, RwandAir continues to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda with West Africa to build sustainable ties among sister African cities and enable trade and tourism between the two countries,” said chief operating officer Jean Paul Nyirubutama.The ariline’s only non-African destination for now is Dubai, but the A330s will allow it to expand its footprint and operate longer flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.RwandAir has not yet officially announced which new A330 long-haul routes it will launch, but it has indicated it intends to start flights to Mumbai in December. It also has mapped out Guangzhou as possible long-haul destination to capture part of the growing Africa-China market.Flights to Harare, Zimbabwe will come on line in January 2017.In May 2015, RwandAir joined the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) as a member airline, only five months after being IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certified.The African airline successfully renewed its IOSA certification with the enhanced IOSA process in June. Its current IOSO certification is valid until June 2018. It is also undergoing the certification process for the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) for which the completion is expected in the last quarter of this year.