Singapore Airlines Asia’s largest carrier has signed an Open Skies Agreement (OSAs) with Rwanda. The arrangement will allow the airline to introduce its services when market opportunities arise.
The agreement was signed at the International Civil Aviation Organization Air Services Negotiation Conference 2010 (ICAN 2010) in Jamaica making Rwanda, Singapore’s second African country to have such an agreement, after the Singapore-Zambia OSA that was concluded in 2008.
According to a press statement from the airline released on Monday, OSAs has also been signed with Barbados, Brazil and Jamaica.
“Direct air links with Singapore will allow businesses in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbeans to access more markets by tapping on Singapore’s excellent connectivity to the Asia Pacific region,” the press statement reads in part.
Currently there are no direct flight connections between Singapore and Latin America or the Caribbeans. In Africa, Singapore Airlines operates passenger services to Egypt and South Africa, while Singapore Airlines Cargo operates cargo services to Kenya and South Africa.
Commenting about the new deal, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Yap Ong Heng, welcomed the developments, saying it is critical for countries to proactively put in place air services frameworks that enable airlines the commercial freedom to respond to market opportunities.
“The Open Skies Agreements that Singapore and these countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America have concluded recognize the benefits that they can bring to airlines, the travelling public and the wider economy through increased trade, tourism and people flows.”
However in a telephone interview with Business Times, Vincent Karega, the Minister of infrastructure observed that the agreement will only benefit Rwanda if the airline expresses interest to operate flights to Kigali.
“It is not news to have such an agreement signed because we have also signed agreements with other airlines including American Airlines which have not launched flights. It only makes news if it is accompanied by flights like KLM,” Karega said yesterday.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is set to launch scheduled flights between Amsterdam and Kigali at the end of October this year. Five flights a week will be offered to Kigali with an intermediate stopover in Entebbe.