Efforts by the national flag carrier, RwandAir, to expand its footprint across West Africa have been boosted following the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Rwanda and Nigeria.
The agreement was signed on Monday, March 26, 2018 in Kigali by Rwanda’s state minister for transport, Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye and Nigeria’s minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
The agreement gives the national flag carrier RwandAir the 5th freedom to operate in Nigeria’s air space without any limitations.
It also provides for exchange of aviation expertise and conducting of trainings between Rwanda and Nigeria’s aviation sectors.
Uwihanganye said the BASA is geared at enhancing connectivity between the two countries thus generating more trade for the two nations
“With the provision of fifth freedom which is reciprocal, the inter-connectivity between the two countries will facilitate the private sectors of both countries to realise and tap into the economic and social benefits,” Uwihanganye noted.
He added that the signing of the BASA with Nigeria and opening of more routes by RwandAir presents Rwanda’s private sector with enormous opportunities in an economically vibrant and large market of more than 190 million people.
RwandAir’s chief executive officer, Chance Ndagano, said the deal offers an opportunity to the national carrier to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda to the rest of Africa and beyond.
“Our mission is to facilitate movement of people and goods across Africa and beyond; therefore this particular agreement will help us achieve the objective on top of promoting trade and tourism between the two countries,” he noted.
He added that RwandAir, currently flies to Lagos and is expected to start flights to Abuja in May 2018.
The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) director general Silas Udahemuka applauded the agreement as another opportunity for RwandAir to expand its footprints on the African continent.
Meanwhile, Sirika reaffirmed Nigeria’s strong cooperation with Rwanda, describing the latest agreement as a timely shot that will help enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
Currently, Rwanda has 71 BASAs within and outside Africa.
Over the years, the growing bilateral relations between Rwanda and Nigeria have seen the two countries develop cooperation on several fronts.
In December 2017 the two countries inked a memorandum of understanding to facilitate technical cooperation in aviation.
WITH AGENCY REPORTS