Rwanda Ratifies 5 Bilateral Deals to Expand Aerospace Network

20 November 2020

Parliament Wednesday, November 18 approved a draft law that paves a way for Rwanda to co-operate in the aviation sector with 5 countries in the aviation sector.

The countries are Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Somalia and Tunisia. So far a total of 52 Bilateral Air Service Agreements have been ratified by Parliament.

According to Claver Gatete, the Minister of Infrastructure, the country is set to sign agreements with South Korea and Malta in a bid to enhance connectivity between the government of Rwanda and two countries thus generating more trade.

"As a landlocked country, we have no option of getting external trade opportunities without using air transport, and even supporting RwandAir to fly into different destinations promoting the country's image and diplomacy," he told parliament.

Gatete explained that the development will, among others, facilitate expansion plans of national carrier RwandAir, which he said had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Normally, BASA agreements permit designated airlines of contracting countries to operate commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and cargo between those two countries.

They also regulate frequency and capacity of air services between countries, pricing and other commercial aspects.

It also provides for exchange of aviation expertise and conducting of training between Rwanda and Nigeria's aviation sectors.

Speaking to The New Times in an exclusive interview, Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir Chief Executive Officer, said that the deal offers an opportunity to the national carrier to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda to the rest of the world.

"They are very beneficial to countries that want to start new routes amongst themselves",

She added, "To us, if we want to fly to any of these routes, we will not start from scratch because the conditions will be flexible due to the agreement"

Asked about whether there are any immediate plans to fly to any of the routes, Makola said that "At the onset, we really don't have any expansion plans".

In October, Rwanda became the 13th African country to ratify the revised African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) constitution that seeks to promote coordination, better utilisation and orderly development of African air transport systems.

The revised AFCAC constitution considers as important the Yamoussoukro Decision for liberalisation of air transport in Africa.

The Yamoussoukro Decision is an agreement among the 44 African states which allows the multilateral exchange of up to a fifth freedom air traffic rights between African Yamoussoukro Decision Party States using a simple notification procedure.

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