Eleven students yesterday graduated from Akagera Flying School in Kigali.
The graduates, seven from the police and others from air force received certificates in helicopter flying after 13 months of training.
The students who are the first home bred pilots, studied subjects ranging from aero-dynamics, air navigation, air regulations, radio communication, among others.
Patrick Nkurikiyimfura, the managing Director of Akagera Aviation Limited, lauded the students for the triumph, pointing out that the move is an important milestone in the country’s aviation industry.
“Our role is to try and provide skilled personnel, reducing the skills gap in the aviation industry as shown by various research papers,” he said.
He also pointed out that the development would boost the tourism sector in the long run, as there will be more aviation staff to fly tourists around whenever there is need.
Nkurikiyimfura noted that plans are under way to turn the school into a regional center of professionalism and excellence.
“We hope to introduce engineering and maintenance courses in the near future,” he said, adding that the second intake will start next week, where 16 new students will be admitted.
Alexis Nzahabwanimana, the minister of state in charge of transport said the training was in line with government efforts to bridge the skills’ gap.
He challenged the new pilots to put the acquired skills to good use as a way of contributing to nation building.
“It was a long time of tireless reading, and exhausting practice in the cockpit, it’s hard to believe that I have graduated at last,” said Meron Mutesi one of the graduates.