RwandAir to resume flights on August 1, starts with Africa routes
RwandAir, the national carrier, will resume flights on August 1, after nearly five months since the airline suspended operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which took on a heavy industry toll.
This follows the Government’s decision to reopen commercial flight operations at the airport.
The carrier, like many other airlines worldwide, has embarked on a phased reopening policy, according to RwandAir chief executive officer, Yvonne Manzi Makolo.
“The number of routes depends on which countries would have removed their restrictions on travel by then. We are going to start with the ones that are available, “she said.
And when countries open up entirely, which will be dictated by how quickly the novel coronavirus pandemic is receding, airlines will have to wait a little longer until passengers are comfortable enough to fly again.
Makolo said RwandAir would continue with the already open African routes – the airline operates more destinations in Africa, flying to roughly 24 destinations across the country.
They’ll start with Dubai in the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) for the long haul routes, she said – one of the airline’s most lucrative business routes, where they previously operated daily flights.
According to Al Rais Travel, which represents the Dubai airline, the carrier reported an increase in its passenger traffic to Dubai by around 17 per cent and freight by 38 per cent in the first seven months of 2019.
2020 is predicted to be the worst year in the history of aviation and airlines are in the mode of survival. Despite little trust from the passengers, the market for air travel has decreased significantly.
An International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey in June revealed that 58% of people avoided air travel because of Covid-19, but the number predicted to continue avoiding air travel in the future could fall to 33%.
“In the context of the new normal, we are rebuilding our business. To restore the faith of passengers that flying in the middle of the pandemic is free,” Makolo said
The boss of RwandAir also pointed out that they are introducing all health and safety initiatives at all touchpoints, ensuring that demand for air travel will slowly increase.
Nonetheless, analysts expect it will take the industry a few years to get back to production levels in 2019.
Therefore, governments will need to continue to provide financial aid and assistance to airlines, as well as flexibility in slot usage.
The Government has already announced that in the 2020-21 fiscal year it will increase funding to the national carrier to Rwf145.1 billion, up from Rwf121.8 billion this financial year.
It is intended to help airline react to the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects.
The funds are also intended to encourage the continuation of the airline’s growth program, including the purchase of new planes and the opening up of new routes.
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