Members of the business community have welcomed the announcement by the national carrier, RwandAir, that it will next month start operating direct flights to Tel Aviv in Israel.
The airline earlier this week said it will, effective June 25, commence three weekly flights to Israel’s second most populous city.
According to members of the Rwandan business community, the new route, which will be RwandAir’s 29th, and only second in the Middle East, opens a new economic frontier.
Angelique Bitahaninkindi, an importer of olive oil and organic trees from Israel, says it’s like a dream come true.
“In fact, I had resolved not to import olive oil or organic trees, because of two main reasons; it was too time consuming and costly,” she said.
“Normally, from Tel Aviv goods go through more than three countries before they get to either Amsterdam or Brussels from where they can connect to Kigali. And if one opts for sea shipping, it takes more than a month,” said Bitaninkindi.
She added, “I remember my first order came by sea, but it took almost a month for me to receive it.”
Bitahaninkindi added that it is currently very expensive to import or export to Israel, which explains the little trade volumes between the two countries.
According to the chief executive of Private Sector Federation, Stephen Ruzibiza, Rwanda and Israel have been great partners in many aspects and this route will only take economic cooperation between the two countries to another level.
He said the Tel-Aviv direct flights from Kigali will unlock massive opportunities for the business community of Rwanda.
“The direct flight will not only foster increase in trade (both exports and imports) but will also encourage more cooperation in different fields, including manufacturing, ICT, among others,” he said.
A source at RwandAir told The New Times on Wednesday that a return ticket to Tel Aviv will go for US$615 in the economy class.
Kigali-Tel Aviv route will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Announcing the new route, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, RwandAir’s chief executive, said that adding Tel Aviv to their network is part of the carrier’s long-term plan to link Rwanda to the rest of the world.
“Tel Aviv is one of the world’s leading tech hubs and we look forward to flying business travelers, to and from our network on this new route,” Yvonne Makolo CEO at RwandAir.