RwandAir, the national carrier,has announced that effective next month it will spread its wings to Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The launch of flights to Brussels will increase the Airline's destinations to 23.
The direct flights from Kigali to Brussels come weeks after the airline launched its direct commercial flights to Gatwick International airport in London.
Brussels is the administrative capital of the European Union mainly known for centuries of history, renaissance architecture and monuments.
Experts believe the airline's decision to penetrate further into the European markets will enhance trade between Rwanda and Europe.
"We are likely going to see increase in trade between Rwanda and the European market because of increased connectivity," said Alex Macharia.
Macharia added that the development is a great milestone towards marketing Rwanda as a tourist hub in the region.
It also means more trade between the European Union and the East African Community given the fact that the two blocs signed an agreement in Brussels, Belgium signaling a start of the EAC Partner States securing the free market access to the EU on a non-unilateral offer but contractual basis.
"This could therefore be a game changer in terms of our exports to the EU markets," said Nadine Irakoze a Kigali based business woman.
More about Brussels flights
Meanwhile, all returning flights from Brussels to Kigali will be via London, Chance Ndagano, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir said adding that the airline will deploy its latest Airbus A330 fleet configured in a triple class cabin and equipped with in-flight connectivity to operate the route.
"Adding Brussels to our fast growing network reaffirms our commitment to create new opportunities for both continents with smooth connections from cities with high demand and will go a long way in boosting trade and tourism," said Ndagano.
More long-haul flights in the offing
RwandAir is also scheduled to launch flights to New York and later other Asian destinations.
On the African front, the airline plans to fly to Conakry in Guinea, Bamako in Mali as well as Dakar, Senegal. Other planned destinations are Lilongwe in Malawi and Durban in South Africa.
Recently, the airline acquired its first A330 series (A330-200 and A330-300 Airbus aircraft) to boost its fleet and capacity to compete globally.
It is also scheduled to take delivery of another brand new Boeing on Sunday.
The new planes are expected to further boost its fleet and help the airline serve planned destinations in Europe and East Asia.
Experts say RwandAir's ambitious expansion strategy could help position it as a major aviation player in the next five years.
The IATA Operational Safety Audit certified airline carried more than 650,000 passengers last year and projects to transport over three million in the next five years.
Currently the airline operates 22 destinations, including Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Mumbai, Harare, Lusaka, Juba, Douala, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Cotonou, Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Libreville and Brazzaville.