Air transport is essentially to the prosperity of Africa as it opens up opportunities that crosses borders and enhances trade and businesswrites.
This was said by Col. Silas Udahemuka, Director General, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) in his speech at the International Air Transport Association"™s (IATA) air transport stakeholder"™ meeting held in Kigali last week. The meeting was organised to celebrate IATA 70 years of existence.
"Africa has about 16 countries that are landlocked, with Rwanda inclusive but we believe air transport is a key that unlocks those landlocked countries," Udahemuka said.
IATA is the trade association for the world"™s airlines representing 240 members and 84% of total air traffic worldwide.
Udahemuka said, "Rwanda has gone so many miles to support the aviation industry in all form".
"Rwanda is among the few countries that enjoy enormous political will in supporting air transport and this has not only been aired at the highest level of government but even at the lowest levels, across the continent and in regional forum," he said.
Rwanda is one of the countries among the eleven countries that committed to universal airspace at open market on the continent early this year.
"At the regional level within the framework of the Northern corridor in the East African bloc, Rwanda is one of those that is participating in making this happen, with the signing of a MoU to that effect among the four East African countries in the Northern Corridor," Udahemuka said.
Government of Rwanda has been seen ambitiously investing in air transport in terms of infrastructure (Airports), in skills among others, which is because the country strongly believes that air transport is constrained by those key elements (inadequate infrastructure and lack of safety compliance)
"We have seen Rwanda moving for the last 5yrs from a significant safety concern to a fully compliant regulator which has translated into achievements that we link today to IATA accepting to award the country IOSA (International Operational Safety Audit) and very soon the external certificate," Udahemuka said.
Government of Rwanda has further gone ahead in working on the infrastructure with the expansion of the international airport in Rwanda (Kigali International Airport). This has doubled the airport"™s capacity easing flow of passengers.
Currently the government is investing in the air site facilities and airdromes and this allows for quick turnaround of airlines.
According to Udahemuka, government has gone ahead, working on reducing the cost of fuel which is assumed to be at 40% of the cost of operations very high.
"What the government has done is reducing the cost by cutting government charges and taxes to allow the operators and supplier to offer air operators a reasonable charge on fuel costs, and there are so many regimes that are being worked on by the government because we value very much what air transport means to us," Udahemuka said.
"It opens up so many opportunities across our borders and intra-Africa trade," he said.
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