Gov’t to reform Rwandair and improve air transport; official

The government is set to introduce new operational standards for Rwandair Express and make it “an airline of choice by focusing on safety and quality service”.
Rwandair CEO Zirimwabagabo.
Rwandair CEO Zirimwabagabo.

The government is set to introduce new operational standards for Rwandair Express and make it “an airline of choice by focusing on safety and quality service”. This was revealed by a senior official in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning who preferred not to be named.

In a telephone interview the senior official said that government aims to create an alliance with British Airways so that it benefits from the BA’s vast route network and modern management resources, the official added that BA would also be allowed to fly directly to Kigali and tap in the passengers who prefer flying directly to Europe on top of purchasing additional planes to increase the current fleet.

Currently BA flies only to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania with passengers to Kigali booking another flight to connect to Rwanda.

The new changes at Rwandair come when government is searching for funds to construct Bugesera International Airport to facilitate Rwanda’s desire of being a regional hub for passengers and cargo.

The official said that when the air transport challenges currently facing the country are reduced, Rwanda will be able to earn much more from tourism which according to a new year’s message from national office of tourism stood at USD: 214 million by the end of 2008.

In a related development, the end of year statistics released by the Rwanda Office for Tourism and National Parks-ORTPN on Thursday, stated that currently tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner for Rwanda.

Rosette Rugambwa the director general of ORTPN said with the increased investment in the tourism sector the growth would be sustained and is expected to consolidate its position as the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

She added that investments in the industry especially the increase in the number of hotels around the country from 148 hotels with 2,391 rooms in 2007 to 163 hotels with 3,552 in 2008 have bolstered the sector.

In his new year’s message, Gerald Zirimwabagabo, the Executive Chairman of Rwandair Express said they will launch a 10 year Strategic plan in 2009 along with a 5 year business plan for the airline company to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, expand our network and increase intercontinental partners so that Rwanda witnesses more global aviation connectivity.

Furthermore, the Association of Hotels and Restaurants and Rwanda Workforce Development Authority-RWODA- are set to improve the quality of catering and other services in the country.

In a recent Memorandum of Association of Understanding between the two, it was agreed that they will inspect the hygiene and services of restaurants on top of training staff in the hotel industry.

The initiative comes at a time when many Rwandans and visitors voice their disappointment and frustration for the quality of hotel and catering services in the country.

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