IT IS OPEN SKIES NOW BETWEEN RWANDA AND BURUNDI
(Posted 02nd September 2013)
Burundi and Rwanda last week signed a new bilateral air services agreement, replacing one which dated back into the 1970’s, which no longer served the needs of today’s requirements for airlines from the two countries.
Similar to recent new BASA’s signed with the Republic of South Sudan – RwandAir is due to commence commercial flights from Kigali to Juba on the 21st September according to the latest information available – and with Lesotho and Swaziland, the new deal with Burundi has lifted all restrictions on air traffic between Bujumbura and Kigali, in terms of frequencies as well as in terms of aircraft type used.
RwandAir is connecting to Bujumbura and many travellers from Burundi now transit in Kigali for their onward flights into the region, the continent or further abroad, making up for the present lack of direct flights from international airlines.
While Burundi’s national airline Air Burundi has not been operating for some time, has RwandAir gone to great lengths to make sure the neighbours are well connected and more flights are now expected to be added under the new aviation deal.
RwandAir, fully backed by the Rwandan government, has been on a determined expansion drive over the past years, more than doubling passenger numbers with a fleet now comprising two each state of the art B 737-700 and B737-800 models, two new Bombardier CRJ900’s NextGen and one leased Bombardier Dash 8-100, which will be returned to the lessors ASL in Kenya when an ordered brand new two class Bombardier Q400 is delivered in a few months time. It is widely expected that next year RwandAir might convert two options for a further two CRJ900’s into firm orders as they continue to grow their network, now comprising Kamembe on the domestic front, Entebbe, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura and soon to come Juba in the East African region and Brazzaville, Libreville, Lagos and Accra in West Africa, soon to be followed by Lome and Abidjan. In addition does RwandAir fly to Johannesburg and to Dubai, while eyeing more destinations in southern Africa. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from Eastern Africa’s vibrant aviation scene.