General Aviation News

Rwanda’s Akagera Aviation Inducts Two Diamond Trainer Aircraft

Rwanda’s Akagera Aviation Inducts Two Diamond Trainer Aircraft

Kigali-based Akagera Aviation Flying Academy has taken delivery of two Diamond Aircraft models – a twin-engine DA42-VI and a single-engine DA40 NG Tundra.

The Rwandan training company said that fleet commonality and Diamond Aircraft’s use of jet fuel rather than aviation gasoline (AvGas) – more commonly used in piston engine aircraft – were motivating factors in the dual acquisition.

Both Diamond Aircraft models are equipped with jet-fuel piston Austro engines and Garmin G1000 NXi avionics systems. The DA40 NG Tundra also features reinforced landing gear attachments, standard Beringer wheels and a special long-stroke hydraulic damper, which is ideally suited to rough terrain landings.

“This delivery is just the beginning of many more aircraft and flight simulators to follow, and we strongly believe Diamond Aircraft will help us achieve our goal of becoming a center of excellence in the region,” said Patrick Nkulikiyimfura, Managing Director of Akagera Aviation.

“We are proud to welcome Akagera Aviation to our long list of renowned flight school customers and are looking forward to support them on their future journey,” added Jane Wang, Sales Director of Diamond Aircraft Austria. “Akagera Aviation will not only utilize the most modern piston training aircraft technology available but also take advantage of Diamond’s operational cost efficiencies, low environmental impact and best safety record in the industry.”

Akagera Aviation was founded in 2004 and initially focused on rotary aircraft, operating the AgustaWestland A109S Grand, the AW139, the AW119MKII and the Robinson R44 from its base at Kigali International Airport. Its helicopter specialisms include training, maintenance, aerial photography and emergency medical evacuations.

The expansion of Rwanda’s flag carrier, RwandAir, over the past two decades has broadened the academy’s horizons, with a majority of its graduates now finding employment either at the national airline or the Rwanda Defence Force.

New flag carriers in Uganda, Zambia and Burundi have further increased regional demand for its pilot training programs.

In May, the first cohorts of local Rwandan commercial pilots graduated from Akagera Aviation in a ceremony attended by Patricie Uwas, the country’s Infrastructure Minister, and Yvonne Makolo, the Chief Executive of RwandAir. The flag carrier has pledged to oversee the training of 370 pilots in Kigali under a joint venture between Akagera Aviation and Saudi Arabia’s Nexus Flight Operations Services.

Diamond Aircraft is meanwhile developing an all-electric version of its popular single-engine model, dubbed the eDA40. Flight testing is scheduled to begin later this year, with European certification expected by the beginning of 2024.