RwandAir is expanding its partnership with Brussels Airlines to include cooperation in marketing and selling routes they operate as well as in technical matters, including synchronisation of schedules.
The development is one of the agreements sealed on the sidelines of the ongoing Aviation Africa 2017 forum underway at the Kigali Convention Centre.
RwandAir chief executive John Mirenge told The New Times yesterday that the two airlines have had a successful code sharing agreement which they were looking to expand.
A code sharing agreement is whereby two or more airlines share the same flight allowing each airline to publish and market the flight under its own airline designator and flight number as part of its published timetable or schedule.
The RwandAir, Brussels Airlines code sharing agreement allowed the former to sell tickets as well as allowing its customers to book seats on flights operated by Brussels Airlines and vice versa.
“We have been doing code sharing with them which was largely to see their network from Rwanda to Brussels and a few destinations in Europe. But now with the CEO here, we were looking to grow that relationship into something more productive whereby we could also look at some of the destinations in the continent where we fly to and they do not cover. They could also be selling the same destinations on the same network and they could be able to feed us and we could also be able to feed them,” Mirenge said.
Other aspects of the newly forged partnership include cooperating on technical matters that will see RwandAir gain more comparative advantage as it seeks to serve more African destinations.
He dispelled claims regarding the sale of a section of the airline to Ethiopia’s national carrier, Ethiopian Airways, saying they were in talks with multiple parties for partnership which remain confidential.
He said that they were however open to entering partnership agreements with partners on multiple aspects, including training, ground support to cut costs and improve efficiency.
“Those partnerships are always there. Training is one of them as well as synchronising our schedules in order to synergise routes and ground support. We do not need to be carrying technical people to another country yet you could use some in other countries,” he said.
On open airspaces, Mirenge who is the president of the African Airline Association said that the slow implementation of the open skies policy was hurting airlines growth.
“It hurts, we are unable to get to every destination and market we would want to serve. We could serve markets better if all routes were opened up, our wish is that this is not there to ease operations,” he said.
RwandAir plans to enter more markets soon, including Mumbai in India and Harare in Zimbabwe, beginning April this year. The airline has plans to also venture into the United Kingdom and the United States.
Last year, the airline launched commercial flights to Cotonou in Benin and Abidjan in Ivory Coast as part of its strategy to expand its footprint and enhance connectivity in West Africa.
Presently, the airline operates about 19 destinations, including Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Lusaka, Juba, Douala, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Cotonou, Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Libreville and Brazzaville.
RwandAir is IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certified. The globally-recognised and accepted evaluation certification confirms that the airline’s operational management and control systems meet international civil aviation safety and other standards.