Rwanda plans bigger continental air show

An air show is basically an exhibition where individuals and companies that need services and those who offer services in aviation meet, discuss and can seal deals
Officials experience the interior of the latest model of Gulfstream business jet, which was showcased at the just concluded Africa Aviation Summit and Exhibition in Kigali. Rwanda is keen to upgrade the event to a continental Air Show, official said. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Rwanda is planning to launch an African Air Show in the next couple of years as it seeks to attract more sector players from across the globe and tap from the potential of the aviation industry, the State Minister in Charge of Transport has said.

Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye was addressing the media after touring the aircraft on display at Kigali International Airport, which was part of the just-concluded Africa Aviation Summit and Exhibition in Kigali.

“This [aircraft display] demonstrates something. This event is called the Africa Aviation Summit and Exhibition. The reason why we are at that step is because we want this summit to become, later, an air show,” he said.

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In aviation, the minister stated, there has been air shows which have built names, like Dubai Air Show and London Air Show.

“We want to have African Air Show in Rwanda. This is one step towards the air show,” he added.

One of the latest Gulfstream business jet, which was showcased at the just concluded Africa Aviation Summit and Exhibition. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Uwihanganye disclosed that having a Rwandan air show demonstrates that the country is on course to achieving its ambition of becoming Africa’s aviation hub.

On display this week were two aircraft models from Gulfstream, an American firm that makes business jet aircraft.

The company exhibited its latest model, the Gulfstream G500, and the not-so-old Gulfstream G280.

There were however other helicopters on display by Rwanda’s Akagera Aviation.

“This time we have started with a static show, but next time we want to have a flying show to make it a complete air show. The display of the aircraft is the first one in the country, and it is important for the country, because this will make Rwanda an aviation hub that will create jobs and spur economic growth,” the minister noted.

Elsewhere, air shows have become a big deal for aviation industry players who are looking to make business deals, networking and witnessing new models of aircraft that different manufacturers are producing.

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Such events happen in Dubai, London and India. For instance, a recent air show in Bengaluru, India (Aero India-2019) brought together a showcase of more than sixty aircraft with a participation of more than 400 exhibitors.

This week’s Africa Aviation Summit and Exhibition in Kigali attracted participants from over 70 countries and more than 80 aviation industry players exhibiting their work at the event.

An air show is basically an exhibition where individuals and companies that need services and those who offer services in aviation meet, discuss and can seal deals. Such deals, the minister said, have been happening in the past two days in Kigali.

When such deals happen in Rwanda, the minister emphasised that it reflects Rwanda’s efforts to position itself as an aviation hub as well as facilitate the growth of local aviation companies.

Also present were the Ministers for Transport from Angola and Sierra Leone, and other high-level delegates who were attending the summit at Kigali Convention Centre.

The next summit is expected to take place in 2021.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com