The New Times (Kigali)

22 December 2012

Rwandair, Kenya Air Set to Enter Strategic Partnership

RwandAir and Kenya Airways (KQ) have announced plans to form a strategic partnership that is expected to benefit both Airlines as well as their customers.

THE collaboration will see the strengthening in the areas of cargo, maintenance and flight training, according to the joint statement received by The New Times. Apparently RwandAir already uses the brand new flight simulators of Kenya Airways to train its pilots.

Benefits for the consumer will initially be felt through improved synergies in the form of scheduling and passenger handling, the statement says.

However, additional value will become apparent as the relationship evolves with further refinement of reservation systems as well as a frequent flyer partnership between the two companies.

Girma Wake the RwandAir chairman described the new deal as a significant milestone to both national carriers development especially as well as development of the tourism sector.

"We are pleased to have agreed this cooperation intent with Kenya Airways. We can now offer more choice for passengers who wish to travel to Rwanda where tourism, trade and investment are on the rise. It is important that we provide the right infrastructure together with partner airlines," he said.

Kenya Airways currently offers four flights per day between Kigali and Nairobi with a wide network available to the rest of the world.

RwandAir flies to Nairobi three times daily and is also serving Mombasa from its base in Kigali.

The combined flights will offer more choice to passengers and better connectivity at the Nairobi hub.

CEO of Kenya Airways, Dr. Titus Naikuni stated: "In line with our strategy to exploit the untapped economic potential of the African continent, this partnership allows us, together with our colleagues in African aviation, to further strengthen our services and network."

However, the details of the strategic cooperation will be mapped out in various agreements which the airlines are currently reviewing for finalisation.

In a recent interview RwandAir Chief Executive Officer John Mirenge said that the national carrier would soon open its new route to different African countries like Juba in South Sudan, Cameroon, Zambia and Zanzibar.

Mirenge further disclosed that RwandAir targets to own 18 aircrafts within the next six years.

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