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Flarepath September 2016

Big Aviation Plans

RWANDA – “The Land of a Thousand Hills – is a relatively small landlocked country surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. A small country, true, but a country with a big heart and, from an aviation point of view, a country which has truly realised the value of this industry.

This is benefitting its entire population, including – believe or not – its population of rare gorillas thanks to the increasing influx of tourists. It has also been ranked now as one of the world’s fastest developing countries in the aviation sphere, thanks in no small manner to the way its government has realised the need for a top class airline and overall support for the airline and travel industry.

A small country, true, but one which is among the unfortunately few leaders in the continent which are fully aware that the growth of aviation will go hand-in-glove with the country’s economic development.

It was but a relatively few years ago that the country’s flag carrier, RwandAir, first found a firm foothold on the aviation map with one or two regional airliners and apart from a handful of local destinations in eastern Africa, spread its wings southwards to Johannesburg. Today it boasts a fleet of four Boeing 737s, two CL- 600s and two Dash 80-400s with a network whish includes Accra, Brazzaville, Brussels, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Dubai, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Juba, Kamembe, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Libreville, Lusaka, Mombasa and Nairobi with more in the pipeline, so to speak. Basically this is a network of trans-African routes with one or two spikes overseas.

What do all these names mean apart from destinations on a map? Connectivity. That’s the “buzz word” in African aviation today, the word which organisations such as the International Air Transport Association, the African Airlines Association, the Airline Association of Southern Africa and even the more politically orientated African Union are using with increasing frequency in their bid to get African Governments to wake up to the value of aviation, the need for greater freedom of the skies, the need to answer the call for lower taxes on matters aeronautical and the need for increased and improved infrastructure to support the airline industry.

To drive Connectivity home, each year the number of aviation-related conferences, conventions and exhibitions increase. Even at this late stage in 2016 there is still a number of varying sized meetings of this nature planned.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that one of these is the African Aviation Development convention, or AviaDev Africa for short, which is to be held from October 4 to 6 in the brand new convention centre in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. It is the only dedicated air service development event for Africa taking place this year.

Not surprisingly, therefore, this event is being developed in association with the Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority’s partner, Bench Events, the organiser of the largest hotel investment event in Africa – AHIF which is running concurrently with AviaDev Africa in Kigali.

Colonel Silas Udahemuka, Director General of the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, said of the forthcoming conference in a recent email to World Airnews: “The recent AU summit held in Kigali illustrated the need for Africa to improve intra-continental cooperation. Better Intra-African air connectivity has been identified as one such economic enabler and as IATA has identified that seven of the 10 fastest growing aviation markets globally are here on the African continent including Rwanda, I believe we deserve our own dedicated forum......................................... To read the full article please subscribe to our E Magazine Here.

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