RwandAir to commence cargo flights

A RwandAir plane at the Kigali International Airport. / File.

National carrier, RwandAir is working on launching cargo flights in the coming days to respond to demand in movement of good.

The airline is in the process of working out details on the new nature of the airline services in cargo which could enable Rwanda and other countries access essential goods to support supply chains as well as medical supplies.

 

The development was confirmed by the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Makolo.

 

Without giving much insight to the plans noting that they were still a work in progress, Makolo said that they will not be converting passenger planes to cargo freighters as had been widely speculated.

 

“We’re working on that. But we won’t convert passenger planes to cargo freighters. We’ll use the available space to transport cargo shipments,” she said.

The detailed plan on the new model is set to be unveiled later this week.

This could among other things see the airline generate revenue during the COVID-19 containment period as well as ensure access to basic and essential goods which are not produced locally.

The move could also serve local exporters and producers access international markets which will maintain exports and the balance of trade.

To further mitigate the COVID-19 the outbreak, the government on 20th March halted all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights, including the national carrier RwandAir for an initial period of 30 days.

However, cargo and emergency flights continue to operate, to allow for the country to continue getting the necessary supplies, according to the directive.

With a number of global supply chains affected and halted, the move to introduce cargo flights by RwandAir could also increase the chances of putting Rwandan products on international shelves especially for products such as tea, coffee and other horticulture consumables.

With most airlines having halted all their operations, there is also likely to be a demand in cargo facilities as countries seek to replenish their stocks of medicine, medical supplies and testing kits for the novel Coronavirus among other items.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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