Trade and tourism between Rwanda and Mali to flourish after a new bilateral Airspace Service Agreement was signed yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda allowing the two nations to open their air space to each other’s national carrier airlines to access with no restriction, according to the New Times.
The agreement gives the national carriers the right to carry passengers from one country to another and from that country to a third country. In addition the airlines can operate unlimited frequencies per week for both passenger and cargo services in the other country.
According to Rwanda’s state minister for transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, the agreement will not only enhance connectivity between the two countries but also bring down the cost of transport from Kigali to Bamako.
Currenlty, passengers travelling from Kigali to Bamako connect through Ethiopia or Nairobi airports, which take more than 10 hours. But with the new deal passengers from Kigali will fly directly to Bamako in less than five hours.
The agreement was prompted by the Yamoussoukro Decision signed in 2000 by 44 countries, which urges Africa to pen its skies and facilitate aviation business on the continent. Many African countries have had difficulties implementing the Decision stalling the process.
Rwanda has so far signed similar agreements with 38 countries in Africa and elsewhere. RwandaAir is getting more connections with more countries opened to the open skies decision. The national carrier will soon start commercial flights to Harare in Zimbabwe, Lilongwe in Malawi, London, UK, and New York in the US.