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RwandAir to double passengers, enhance cargo transport

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The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) has promised to significantly expand the national aviation industry, which will see the doubling of the number of passengers transported by the national carrier, RwandAir, and to enhance its cargo transport within the next five years.

This is contained in the ruling party’s five-year political programme which it intends to implement should the Rwandan people entrust them with a new mandate during the general elections slated for July 14-16.

Currently, RwandAir operates 13 aircraft, including three Airbus A330s, seven Boeing 737s, two Bombardier CRJ900s, and two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-Q400s.

The airline serves nearly 30 destinations across east, central, west, and southern Africa, as well as the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

The RPF manifesto indicates that in cooperation with the private sector, efforts will be made to use green transport, and the construction of the new international airport in Bugesera District will be completed while Musanze and Rubavu airports will be expanded and repaired.

Yvonne Makolo, the CEO of RwandAir, on June 6, said that adding more destinations will support efficient and reliable connections for business and provide significant opportunities for enhanced trade between Rwanda and the rest of the continent.

“As a landlocked nation, we recognize the importance of air freight in Rwanda’s economic growth across Africa and beyond. Our geographic location at the heart of Africa enables us to connect every part of the continent, and we eagerly anticipate expanding this connectivity even further,” she said.

RwandAir is not only looking to improve passenger numbers. Cargo transport services will also be improved using dedicated cargo planes according to the RPF manifesto.

Makolo emphasized the importance of cargo operations.

“Cargo is really a key growth area for us, and throughout the pandemic, it was the one revenue stream that was growing year-on-year,” Makolo stated.

In addition to expanding operations, RwandAir is collaborating with other airlines to enhance customer experience.

Through a loyalty partnership, passengers can now earn and redeem points across reciprocal route networks and access airport lounges at hubs in Doha and Kigali.

The RPF manifesto also highlights that a model school will be built to teach the skills of piloting and managing airports. The Centre of Excellence for Aviation Skills (CEAS) is aimed at building local capacity and empowering the labour force in the aviation industry in the region and beyond.

Earlier this month, the inauguration of Rwanda Civil Aviation Training and Innovation Centre (RCATIC) marked a ‘significant’ leap forward for the country’s aviation sector as it looks to increase the number of aviation professionals and address the issue of high training costs and scarcity of aviation schools.

During the official launch of RCATIC by Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA), on June 20, Andrew Mutabaruka, a quality assurance officer at RCATIC, said that establishing the training facility aims to address shortages in aviation professionals and boost the number of qualified aviation professionals in the country.

He said this will help bridge crucial gaps and propel the industry to new heights.

“Civil aviation is a specialised industry requiring unique skills, knowledge, and attitudes. We’ve always had an inadequate number of professionals due to the high costs and limited training schools worldwide. Specifically, our country lacked (capabilities) to fill these gaps,” Mutabaruka said.

“The impact on the aviation community will be substantial, as this school will increase the number of aviation professionals nationally. Since it will be open to individuals beyond our borders, we can help close gaps globally, especially in Africa, where the aviation industry is still growing.”

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