By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Stanislas Kamanzi, said on Friday that the Rwandair’s Abuja-Kigali route would boost trade relations between Nigeria and Rwanda.
Kamanzi stated this during the cocktail organised by the airline to celebrate the commencement of Abuja-Kigali route in Abuja.
He said the new route was a product of the long standing friendship between Nigeria and Rwanda, adding that the Abuja-Kigali route would deepen trade relationship between the two countries.
According to him, Rwanda is an emerging economy and land of opportunities in the continent.
“No doubt, the new route would enhance integration in the continent.
“We look forward to growing trade and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Rwanda as well between East and West Africa.
“That is what we need for our people to tap the wealth of our continent,’’ he said.
Mr Silver Munyaneza, Deputy CEO, Operations, RwandAir, said the decision to increase destinations in Nigeria was borne out of the desire to link the two countries political capitals.
Munyaneza added that the economic opportunities in Nigeria and Rwanda were also additional advantage to the new route.
He commended the Government of Nigeria for its commitment to the open sky initiative, otherwise known as Yamoussoukro Decision, aimed at promoting single air transport market in the continent.
According to him, the operations on the route had so far been encouraging because the load factor is currently around 60 per cent.
“RwandAir will be operating four times weekly flight to and from Abuja – Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday unlike Lagos where it operates daily flights,” he said.
Miss Ibiyemi Odusi, Country Manager, said the airline decided to open Abuja route because of the need to bring its services close to the political capital of the country.
Odusi said that aside being a political capital, Abuja also offered number of business opportunities with a lot of potentials.
She said the airline was aware of the competition in the industry, adding that RwandAir’s unique selling point would stand it out such as its safety record and on-time performance.
Odusi expressed optimism that the airline would be able to further expand its operations in Nigeria through efficient service delivery.
“There is a lot of potential for air transport market in Abuja and for us in RwandAir, Nigeria is actually one of our cash cow and that is we can go the extra mile to invest and get good returns.
“RwandAir is supported fully by a robust government and we are safe, strong and reliable and our on-time performance is good because we are safety certified,’’ she said.
NAN recalls that RwandAir inaugurated its maiden flight on the Abuja-Kigali route on April 27 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja with 30 passengers on board Boeing 737-700 aircraft from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.