National carrier RwandAir has joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) membership, a club of 250 airlines from over 150 countries.
IATA is an international trade association for the world’s airlines.
Raphael Kuuchi, the vice president of IATA, who handed over the certificate to “Africa’s youngest and fastest growing airline,” said the carrier now has the mandate to participate in decision-making and policy formulation in the world of aviation globally.
It also means that the national carrier is now among the airlines on the IATA’s operational safety audit (IOSA) register, an ingredient that will help propel the airline toward becoming one of the safest on the global scale.
“It’s an opportunity RwandAir must use to become more efficient, innovative in the safest and environmentally sensitive manner,” Kuuchi said during the ceremony at Kigali International Airport.
“You must take the advantage of the network and enter into partnerships with other airlines to thrive,” he added.
The certificate also means that the airline’s Chief Executive Officer can become a board member of IATA – if he or she applied.
The certificate comes less than six months after the airline was awarded the safety worthiness certificate upon passing IOSA.
Cerfitification and progress
The airline awaits another certification, the IATA safety audit for ground operations, expected to be completed by March 2016.
But with the two certificates, RwandAir can now enter into business partnerships, including code sharing agreements with any of the world five star airlines and fly to any destination.
John Mirenge, the RwandAir chief executive, said they will use the certificate to draw best practices, learn and share experiences with the world’s best airlines.
He reiterated the airline’s commitment toward efficiency and safety as well as contribution to economic development.
“We are already engaging with some regional airlines on how we can partner and do business together in the most efficient and professional manner,” Mirenge added.
Silas Udahemuka, the director-general of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, said the certificate was a “great milestone that will not only aid RwandAir but play a fundamental role in connecting the country to the outside world.”
“If we want to be identified with quality and success, then IATA is the way to go; our only assurance is to continue focusing on safety, efficiency and sustainability,” Udahemuka said.
Last year, RwandAir transported more than 500,000 passengers, up from 366,000 in 2012 and is targeting a million passengers by the end of the year.
The airline is next month due to receive yet another state of the art Bombardier Q400 Next Generation aircraft.