TURKISH MAKES KIGALI THEIR 20TH AFRICAN DESTINATION
The arrival in Kigali of Turkish Airlines makes it three new connections this year which Rwanda has established with the rest of the world over the past few months. Turkish, a Star Alliance member, joins alliance partners Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways in Kigali, adding another feather in Stars cap of being the global alliance with the most connections within and into Africa.
THY will initially fly three times a week between Istanbul and Kigali, using a B737-800 in a two class cabin configuration, also offering a non palleted cargo uplift capacity of up to 7 tons. The airline has last year also signed an extensive MoU with RwandAir, under which technical cooperation and schedule alignment, amongst other areas has been agreed, and though no code share is in place at present, this has not been ruled out by a usually well informed source for the future who said: Turkish now flies to 150 destinations internationally besides their big domestic network. So it is of interest for RwandAir to see what advantages can be gained by a potential code share arrangement, which could open up more destinations in America, Europe and the Far East before they get their own wide bodied planes in 2015 or 2016. When done with the right partners it can prepare certain markets for direct flights from Kigali in the future.
On the inaugural flight was Turkishs CEO Dr. Temel Kotil accompanied by senior airline executives and a sizeable business delegation from Turkey, which has established a close political and economic working relationship with Rwanda over the past years.
A regular tourism source was swift to say: The arrival of Turkish will add more seats to the market and allow travelers to bypass other regional hubs and come directly to Rwanda. The airline will now very actively promote this new destination and we from the private sector will join then together with RDB to tap into their overseas markets and bring visitors in. When they promote we gain, when they sell seats we gain. It is a win win situation for us when a new airlines starts and it will help Rwanda to affirm to the world that we are able to host conferences and meetings just as much as we can host individuals and tour groups who come to see our gorillas or visit the other two parks or hike the birding trails or the Congo Nile Trail. And new airlines are not at the expense of our own national airline RwandAir, because passengers can even connect with RwandAir to the region if they want to see some other countries while in Africa.
From me it is Happy Landings to the crews and passengers of Turkish Airlines and welcome at last to Rwanda.