The national carrier, RwandAir will start direct flights to DR Congo cities of Goma and Lubumbashi. The flights are scheduled to operate on a weekly basis with dates yet to be confirmed. These routes come as an addition to RwandAir’s only flight to Kinshasa. The CEO of RwandAir, Yvonne Manzi Makolo said that the process is ongoing, pointing that they “often open routes where they know there is demand.” “We will provide the same quality of services that we have been providing to other routes. Kigali is a good hub to transit through for a lot of passengers, we look forward to successfully operating those routes (Goma and Lubumbashi).” The New Times understands that there is demand from both passengers and cargo transportation. Stephen Ruzibiza, CEO of Private Sector Federation (PSF) said this is good news to the private sector because of the ease of accessibility to these towns. “The enhanced connectivity in terms of transport will allow people to spend less time travelling to these destinations and it will boost access to Lubumbashi market.” For Rwandan investors, Lubumbashi is a destination that has potential, he said, “access to that market has been an issue for a while, and you can’t see opportunities unless you get to the market and assess its potential.” Ghislain Ahadi, a Congolese businessman in Kigali Business Centre lauded the initiation of new routes to DRC and said it is a solution to challenges faced when travelling to and from these cities. “Congolese are confident in RwandAir more than other Aviation companies in Congo because of how secure and affordable the flight is,” he said “I am not a politician but this will play an important role in building trust and good relationships that will remove stereotypes among both the people due to expected frequent interactions,” he added. Lubumbashi is the second-largest city and mining capital in DR Congo, it is also rich in fertile soil for agriculture which calls for many investors. Goma is the provincial capital of the eastern DRC and is a commercial hub for the majority of businesses including cross-border trade with Rubavu district in Rwanda. The development also comes after strengthened bilateral ties between Rwanda and DRC during the meeting of President Paul Kagame and his counterpart Felix Tshisekedi that took place in June this year. Makolo also said that they are considering expansions to other destination routes in the near future. Mid this year, RwandAir shifted focus to regional routes as a new recovery strategy after Covid disruptions, before which, the airline serviced 25 destinations across 21 countries throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.