Rwandair Airbus-A330. Photo: Airbus.

MIAMI — RwandAir, the national flag carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, has taken delivery of the first of two Airbus A330s, becoming the first East African operator of the type and Airbus’ newest customer.

The aircraft, named (Ubumwe • 9XN-WR • MSN 1741) is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B engines, and is configured in a three-class cabin layout with 20 seats in Business, 21 seats in Premium Economy and 203 seats in Economy.

RwandAir plans to use the type to develop new routes to China (via India) and Western Europe, which will be fed into its growing sub-Saharan African regional network. The second aircraft, an A330-300, is expected to join the fleet by the end of the year.

“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,” said John Mirenge, CEO, RwandAir.

Mirenge said the new wide body aircraft is the biggest milestone for Africa’s fastest growing airline and opens up opportunities in terms of expanding the airline’s footprint.

“We are now set to compete globally,” Mirenge said.

RwandAir is a state-owned airline, and currently operates four Boeing NextGeneration aircraft, together with two Bombardier CRJ-900s and two Dash 8 400s, which serve 19 cities in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa and the Middle East.