[Editorial] No hurdles too high for local aviation industry

Cape Verde is the latest country to enter into an Air Service Agreement with Rwanda, an indication that Rwandair will soon cover most of the West African air travel market.

Cape Verde is the latest country to enter into an Air Service Agreement with Rwanda, an indication that Rwandair will soon cover most of the West African air travel market.

The airline has very ambitious expansion plans and becoming the continent’s airline of choice, taking on the big boys such as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.  Already its in-cabin service and ground handling is the subject of positive reviews.

At the just concluded International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) World Aviation Forum in Abuja Nigeria, Rwanda was rated highly in the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) where it scored 71.93 percent.

The country is not letting go of its plans to make aviation one of the key engines of economic development. And that entails spreading its wings as far as possible. But there is only one hitch: some African countries are yet to enter into service agreements that will allow Rwandair to exploit their airspace.

It is very surprising, that at a time when the words going around political round tables are “integration” and “cooperation”, some are yet to translate that into action. Of the 60 bilateral Air Service Agreements the country has signed, only 24 are with African countries. The rest are outside the region.

It makes no Pan-African sense when foreign carriers are preferred over African airlines even when the latter has cheaper fares and even better service.

But as mentioned earlier, the country is not deterred as it seeks to expand its fleet even more. Already there is talk that following the collapse of Germany’s second largest airline, Air Berlin, its slot for two new aircraft it had ordered from Airbus will go to Rwandair. The sky is not the limit.

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