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4 weeks ago

RwandAir plans expansion to three new African routes

The national carrier, RwandAir, has announced plans to expand its African footprint, a move that would see the airline adding three more routes on the continent.

RwandAir Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Best Owie confirmed the development in an exclusive interview with The New Times, pointing out that through its expansion strategy, the airline is keen on building strong and effective intra-African connectivity.

The new routes include Maputo in Mozambique, Zanzibar in Tanzania, and Luanda in Angola. Also to be resumed is the Mombasa route which had been previously suspended.

“The African market remains underserved, especially when you look at the number of African-bound passengers having to pass through Europe to be able to reach another African destination,” Owie said.

“We want to build an efficient Intra-African connectivity and strengthen the synergies of our markets, but that doesn’t deprive us of expanding even beyond,” he added.

A tall order

Air transport is vital for the modern economy, and according to Owie, it provides the city-pair connections that serve as virtual bridges facilitating the flows of key economic activities between markets.

As a growing airline, he highlighted, RwandAir has embarked on an “ambitious” strategy where it seeks to facilitate links between businesses, governments, and people – enabling world trade, investment, tourism, and travel among other key economic activities.

“As part of our commercial packaging, we are pursuing an ambitious plan of further connecting the African markets, it is a tall order but we also have an aggressive approach,” Owie noted.

He added, “Strong connectivity within Africa is a plus not just for RwandAir but the entire market of the African continent.”

When asked about the new routes, Owie maintained that RwandAir is in direct talks with the respective governments, declining to divulge further details.

He, however, did not share any timeline.

The strategy is also aimed at harmonizing profit and cost.

“We are very keen on that. We are also geographically advantaged, and we want to capitalize on our strategic location to see that we connect more intra-African markets,” he explained.

The low level of intra-African air connectivity continues to deprive the continent and its people of reaching their full potential.

Experts in the aviation industry have long advocated to remove obstacles hindering the industry’s expansion and connectivity.

Airline chiefs have also called on African governments to open aviation markets and allow for more routes and more flights where regulatory impediments were blocking growth.