Rwanda, Nigeria sign deal to boost air transport
Nigeria’s minister of state for aviation,Hadi Abubakar Sirika and his Rwandan counterpart Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye displayed copies of the airspace agreement.
Kigali, March 27, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Nigeria and Rwanda has entered into agreement to boost commercial flight operations and exchange of aviation expertise between the two countries.
The agreement was signed on Monday in Kigali by Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, Rwanda’s state minister for transport and his counterpart Hadi Abubakar Sirika, Nigerian state minister in charge of aviation.
The agreement, Alternativeafrika understands gives the Rwanda national flag carrier RwandAir the 5th freedom to operate in Nigeria’s air space without any limitations.
It also provides for exchange of aviation expertise and training between Rwanda and Nigeria’s aviation sectors.
The bilateral airspace service is geared at enhancing connectivity between the two countries thus generating more trade for the two nations, said Uwihanganye Rwanda’s state minister for transport
“With the provision of fifth freedom which is reciprocal, the interconnectivity between the two countries will facilitate the private sectors of both countries to realise and tap into the economic and social benefits,” Uwihanganye noted.
He added that the signing of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with Nigeria and opening of more routes by RwandAir presents Rwanda’s private sector with enormous opportunities in an economically vibrant and large market of more than 190 million people.
RwandAir welcomes deal
Chance Ndagano, RwandAir’s Chief Executive Officer said the deal offers an opportunity to the national carrier to fulfill its mission of connecting Rwanda to the rest of Africa and beyond.
“Our mission is to facilitate movement of people and goods across Africa and beyond; therefore this particular agreement will help us achieve the objective on top of promoting trade and tourism between the two countries,” he noted.
RwandAir, currently flies to Lagos and is expected to start flights to Abuja in May 2018, he added.
Silas Udahemuka, the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) director general applauded the agreement as another opportunity for RwandAir to expand its foot prints on the African continent.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s state minister Sirika reaffirmed his country’s strong cooperation with Rwanda, describing the latest agreement as a timely shot that will help enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
Currently, Rwanda has 71 Bilateral Air Service Agreements within and outside Africa.
Over the years, the growing bilateral relations between Rwanda and Nigeria have seen the two countries develop cooperation on several fronts.
In December 2017 the two countries inked a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate technical cooperation in aviation.
Equally, Rwanda recently concluded negotiation and signing of bilateral air service agreement with Cape Verde, opening more potential market opportunities for RwandAir and Rwanda’s private sector.