Leg KGL-KME by Rukundo
For schedule reason, it was merely impossible to transit on the airport, and had to stay in Kigali town for a day, which would be quiet unsual for some international standard code share airlines, and it was much better like this
National airline proudly offers 8 destinations across Africa (completed recently by Mombasa and Dubai) and surprinsigly still one domestic, since the demise due of low frequentation of the Goma/Gisenyi route. This internal service, which was based on the 3x weekly on opening became daily whatsover. As evereybody knows the fact files of this under developped country it's pretty stunning and encouraging to provide a such airline service on a such short distance (165 miles). The most unexplicabled fact shows that this route has been implemented since 2005, 3 years after the airline's launch. No matter the words, here are the facts and time to seize opportunity a brand new adventure.
My brother and i went to experienced our national airline. Moreover it appears also that our « reckless » Alex was the first to cover the national carrier of Rwanda on KGL-NBO
LINK: Rwanda Air Ex WB 107: 25/AUG/07: KGL-NBO: Y Cabin (by Abrelosojos Nov 29 2007 in Trip Reports)
Satisfied to desperatly arrive after an only 15h delayed, my brother enjoyed a nonstop night out with some rwandan fellows the eve, and surprinsigly managed to be on time to KGL. We have used moto taxi, which are obviously better value for money.
Dropped off at 7h am, KGL looks sleepy and awaiting the first sunlights. An hour ago, local operator Rwandair saw its 2 first flights leaving regionally to BUJ and JRO. Despite the forthcoming departure of the most profitable WB's route to JNB
, the departure hall was not buzzing of passengers, lonely idle airport staff were over represented, that's called african magic.
Absolutely new at Kigali: FIDS
With one hour left we decided to walk straight to check-in.
As usual there is a 1st security scan here before the desk, we found 2 Check-in counters opened, displaying JNB
and KME. We waited 15 min here before processing here at the JNB
The lady, pleasant with a shy face, was not what she revealed few seconds before. When we requested 2 windows seats, she kindly answered the flight was far away to be full, and we would be able to enjoy an almost free seating. Sticking with this half known news and her warm beautiful smile, we headed directly to security. On the way happy to handle my birthday's gift, i've noticed she gave us 2 aisles seating and not together obviously.
Kamembe and Jo'burg Counters
With 25 min remaining, the wisest decision was to make the way to the departure lounge, via the 2nd security scan. The friendly officer (whom meet upon our arrival in rwanda) explained us that, according the BP
, the boarding would start at 8H30 and there was no reason to do not enjoy a cup of tea on the new restaurant also used as free lounge for frequent flyers. Taking his words for it, my brother ordered few mouthwatering savouries as samoussa, pain au chocolat and drinks for $7.
Before called CIP now Eats and Drinks
As he was busy talking, it could be easily seen that boarding had started, since here no public annoucement or screening are available every passenger has to be aware. Checking back the BP
, a huge fright invaded me before noticing that she printed out or by reasons whatsoever a boarding time at 8H30 instead of 8H. We quickly made our way to the 2nd security check, escorted by a ground agent, and showing that we've been mislead by the document, he showed us our bus for a quick ride to the Dash parked away.
Not so many visitor today
Are those birds still flying?
My brother was like a kid front a Christmas illuminated shop, as the last time he has flown Dash dated from 2001, with a demise ancestor of WB, Alliance Express on NBO
-KGL route. At the first sight, one can perceive an all white color scheme different from the rest of fleet filling the KGL's Apron, secondly the registration indicate an Kenyan origin starting with 5Y
-BXU. According to Airfleet website, operator of this shapely aircraft remains "unknown".
2 nice surprises arose while stepping inside BXU:
- the load factor was far beyond our imagination, positively high, after counting twice each of us, a total of 24 passengers boarded this domestic service: with certitude 5 nationalities would travel to KME: Rwandan, Congolese, Indian, French and Czech ( where we had an earlier chat while check-in): what a great asthonishing news!
- The second news, inspite a high load factor, and the aisle seat assignation from a probably WB's trainee staff, we quickly realised that row 7 was totally empty, which means both of us could enjoy a windows seat, i've choosen 7D.
Legroom (from EAS)
STD: 8H00 (8H02), STA
: 8H25 (8H25)
De Havilland: Dash 8-100
Distance: 165 miles
Despite our almost fatal strolling in the airport, First Officer and PNC welcomed us at 7H52. After switching on engine, listening the safety information, X-ray Uniform backtracked runway 10. A long wait because of the sereval birds on the runway's vicinity, prevented from taking off immediately. Anyway, without any delay caused by the incorrect given information, we were airborne at 8H07, then followed a huge turn towards south west. Cruising Altitude 17000 has been reached 7 mins after being lift up.
Islands on the Lake Kivu
Load factor really surprising
Ahmed a genuine friendly cabin officer offered a selection of soft drink, i've tried an orange juice, the rest of the trip was uneventful as BXU was huging the thousand hill of the left shore of Kivu Lake
Drink service from Ahmed
6 mins later he announced the descent to the airfield.
a smooth landing made clearly on the left one gear enabled an on time schedule arrival at Kamembe/Ruzizi.
Peak time at Kamembe
Forever static visitor
Forbidden pleasure: walking on the runway
Once stepped down we made our way to the exit, being kept a close eye by the local police. From now the rush start for RAA operator of this cute and simply bush airport with absolutely nothing, which obviously was a breeze concerning the process.
Greeting's from Rukundo
Control tower and fire brigade
We did not hold any luggage but the reclaim worth to be seen. After it was the scrum to get a dire priced taxi, as number were limited, obviously they took advantage on all travellers even congolese.
Temporary passenger terminal,
KME-KGL (outbound journey)
Rusizi (ex-Cyangugu) and Bukavu (DRC)
We decided to ride a moto taxi around 7H45, it took us 7 mins to reach the Kamembe airfiled, even if improvement and renovation are on the way, facilities overthere are basic but nothing is missing:
- a sales office and travel agency
- a bar and restaurant
- Custom and some warehouses on its side.
Travel agency and WB sales office
Tiny passengers terminal (taken the eve)
After being scanned we headed off to the check-in counters, shared apparently with a bar. While the truly professionel WB's agent filled manually our BP
, a quick look at the PIL, revealed the load factor of the day: 20 hum it was less than the eve but still honorable.
Check-in desk and/or bar
Can anyone give me another airport in this world featured with a public pool table?
With nothing much to do than waiting at the restaurant, an african passenger caught our attentions, first with his unusual luggage.
While my brother tried to figure out what was special with this traveller, BXU landed with 25 min delay on runway 20.
Once his work completed, he pulled out a magazine from his bag, and a smile arose from our face as it revealed to be Airliner world. Later on he has told us his aviation hobby, like us, and his job pilot in a small aircraft, sadly not like us. He was heading to NBO
, unfortunately for him he must stay 6 uncountable long hours in transit, in one of the most boring airport in the world according to an aviation fan.
RAA opened the look like"garden" gate for the boarding but the agent cut the stub before get inside the plane, then with a truly smile wished us a pleasant trip.
Ahmed, our identical steward, welcomed us once again with exactly the same and rare warm smile. With all passengers onboard the capitain released a religiously PA on the cruising altitude, flying time, and the basic itinerary then came the turn of he started the safety instructions.
For specialists only: what, who, where, when?
Just after take-off
To avoid Congolese air space, BXU was given clearance for takeoff and the propeller engines spooled to full thrust from runway 2. this time, the service was an identical copy as wednesday, and the light turbulences at the end of the flight distracted a young kid travelling with us
Entertainement: Insozi magazine dated from August
Drinks cart 1
Drinks cart 2
Because of the shortness of the flight, the pilot did not make up the delay, and touchdown occured at 9H34, followed by a severe braking to catchup taxiway alpha roughly in middle of the runway.
Nothing has changed since yesterday
From BXU's flight deck
Kigali approach chart
King Air United States of America, sadly the lonely visitor
A bus was waiting for us, and exactly 7 mins after getting off BXU, we could breathe landside Kigali pure oxygen.
End of the Journey[Edited 2010-11-12 03:19:14]
[Edited 2010-11-12 03:52:00]
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki