Cotonou – 1st August, 2017. RwandAir the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda is pleased to announce that it has been granted the seventh freedom rights by the Government of Benin. The seventh freedom rights allow an airline to base its operations outside its home base and operate between its seventh freedom base and a third country without returning to its country. RwandAir plans to position two Boeing 737s aircraft to Cotonou and begin operations in the near future from its new second hub.
Furthermore, the Governments of Benin and Rwanda have signed a MOU to establish a Joint Venture airline owned by the two countries and based in Cotonou, Benin.
“The launch of this hub, will take air travel on our continent to the next level as RwandAir will be able to reach more countries in West and Central Africa with improved connections and more frequencies” said Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the Deputy CEO in Charge of Corporate Affairs of RwandAir.
The joint-venture airline plans to commence its initial operations providing air transportation for passengers and goods between and to Abidjan, Brazzaville, Douala, Libreville, Bamako, Dakar and Conakry.
“This will enable us to achieve our plans for the country’s aviation industry in order to make Cotonou a hub for the sub-region. Our second dream will become reality with the establishment of the national carrier of Benin through the Rwandan experience thus contributing to the development of our aviation and tourism sectors”, said Honorable Herve Hehomey, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Benin.
“I’m pleased that our Rwandan brothers chose our national day to come and celebrate with us this cooperation which facilitates the creation of the Beninese-Rwandan airline by the end of this year” said Honorable Aurelien Agbenonci, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Benin.
“In the name of the Government of Rwanda, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Government of Benin that has allowed this audacious and solemn economic initiative to materialize. I’m very pleased that the negotiations ended in this mutually beneficial partnership for both countries” said Honorable Louise Mushikiwabo, the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister of Rwanda.
RwandAir will continue its operations from Kigali to Cotonou and provide seamless access to East and Southern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to the joint airline.
From its hub at the heart of Africa at Kigali International Airport, RwandAir is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety, and has one of the youngest fleet on the African continent. RwandAir, an IATA member airline renewed its IOSA certification and has been ISAGO and EASA certified.
With a fleet of twelve aircraft including two wide-body Airbus A330 acquired last year, the airline currently reaches out to twenty-three destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
This year, RwandAir started flights to Mumbai, Harare, London (Gatwick) and Brussels. Later this year, the airline’s ever growing network will spread to Guangzhou and in 2018, RwandAir plans to enter the American market with flights to New York, in the United States of America.