Rwanda’s national flag carrier RwandAir has re-assured the business community on its new drive to enhance connectivity and efficiency to boost trade.
The airline said it will relentlessly continue opening new destinations to facilitate the ease of doing business and movement across Africa and beyond.
Jean-Paul Nyirubutama, the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir, said the idea is to facilitate ease of travelling across the continent but also to be part of the process to integrate the continent economically.
According to Nyirubutama, the national flag carrier’s efforts to expand its wings to the whole of Africa and beyond is designed to unlock business opportunities and to facilitate integration process across Africa.
Nyirubutama was speaking during the official launch of RwandAir’s flights to Cotonou in Benin on Friday.
The airline is currently conducting 3 weekly flights on B737-700 and -800 aircraft, each.
The flights to Cotonou are tagged to the existing Kigali - Douala and Libreville routes.
The airline is due to start weekly flights to Abidjan next month, and, according to Nyirubutama, the two destinations can only mean more trade, tourism and social integration.
"With the addition of these two destinations, RwandAir continues to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda with West Africa to build sustainable ties among sister African cities and enable trade and tourism between the two countries," said Nyirubutama.
Nathalie Houndeton, the Director in charge of Air Transport Regulation Civil Aviation Benin, called for more efforts to integrate the continent’s airspace to facilitate trade and movements of persons around Africa.
The need to improve, the infrastructure and reduce the cost of conducting aviation business in Africa is equally important, she said, adding that the role played by RwandAir towards integrating the continent cannot be underestimated.
Francis Agbado, the Managing Director FourTrust Ltd Benin, said more connectivity on the continent will further reduce the cost of doing business in Africa.
“This will eventually translate into more economic growth and development on the continent,” he said.
Strengthening bilateral and economic ties
Meanwhile, Stanslas Kamanzi, the Ambassador of Rwanda to Benin, said both countries will leverage on Rwanda’s flights to Cotonou to further strengthen bilateral and economic ties between the two countries.
Currently, the airline flies to more than 17 destinations, including Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Lusaka, Juba, Douala, Dar-es-salaam, Kilimanjaro, Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Libreville and Brazzaville, among others.
Cotonou and Abidjan takes the airline's growing network to nineteen destinations all connecting through Kigali.
The airline will soon add Harare in Zimbabwe, Mumbai India, and Guangzhou in China on its list of destinations before expanding to Western Europe.
The national carrier is due to acquire Airbus aircraft A330-200 and A330-300.
The wide body aircraft are expected this week and November, respectively.
Aviation players are confident the acquisition of these two wide-body aircraft will significantly increase RwandAir’s capacity to effectively meet growing demand and provide exceptional service for the ever-growing Asia-China and European passenger markets.
The national carrier successfully renewed its certificate for the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for another two years to remain competitive.
IOSA programme is an internationally recognised evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airlines.