Nigerian traders buoyant over RwandAir’s Lagos flights

The business community in Nigeria has promised to support RwandAir’s plans to expand its market share in Nigeria and West Africa after the airline launched direct flights to Lagos. Williams Olaposi, a senior director with Oando Marketing LTD, a Nigerian oil retailer, told The New Times in Abuja over the weekend, noted that RwandAir’s entry will boost business between the two countries.
Minister of Infrastructure Albert Nsengiyumva and Rwandair's John Mirenge at the inauguration of the New Boeing Sky Interior. The company has launched direct flights to Nigeria. The New Times/ File.
Minister of Infrastructure Albert Nsengiyumva and Rwandair's John Mirenge at the inauguration of the New Boeing Sky Interior. The company has launched direct flights to Nigeria. The New Times/ File.

The business community in Nigeria has promised to support RwandAir’s plans to expand its market share in Nigeria and West Africa after the airline launched direct flights to Lagos.

Williams Olaposi, a senior director with Oando Marketing LTD, a Nigerian oil retailer, told The New Times in Abuja over the weekend, noted that RwandAir’s entry will boost business between the two countries.

“We are going to advocate for RwandAir market interests in Nigeria by encouraging our people to take advantage of the airline’s direct flights to Kigali,” she said.

The national carrier launched direct flights to Lagos, on Friday last week, as it attempts to grab a bigger slice of Africa’s aviation market.

Lagos becomes the 13th destination for the airline’s rapidly growing network and the fourth new destination this year after Gisenyi—a local destination, Brazzaville and Libreville in Congo and Gabon, respectively.

“We have been frustrated by travelling almost all over Africa just to get to Kigali because there no direct flights, which was costly, RwandAir comes as a relief,” Olaposi added.

She pointed out that the business community in Nigeria will use the opportunity to tap into the regional market using Rwanda as the hub.

The three weekly flights will depart from Kigali at 0830HRS (local time) and arrive in Lagos at 1140HRS (local time). The return flights depart from Lagos at 1330HRS (local time) to reach Kigali at 1840HRS (local time).

John Mirenge, the CEO of RwandAir expects the local business community to capitalise on the market potential in Lagos through convenient and cost effective transport means.

“Lagos as a commercial centre of West Africa definitely can make a difference to the economy of Rwanda due to the fact that Rwandans will be exporting their products to Nigeria and vice versa, which will boost the generation of the country’s revenue,” he said.

Mirenge further added that trade volumes between Rwanda and other countries, where RwandAir has direct flights are increasing at a commendable rate, adding that they plan more direct flights to other African countries and beyond.

The Lagos flights come in the wake of major frequency additions on the airline’s schedule; notably, the Dubai flights, which have been stepped up from three to six frequencies a week.

The new “Dubai Direct” frequencies operate on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday giving a perfect connection to passengers from Lagos to Dubai.

Lagos is the commercial and industrial hub of Nigeria, with a Growth National Product that triples that of any other West African country.

frankkanyesigye@newtimes.co.rw

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