The national carrier, RwandAir will operate cargo flights to three global destinations to support exports as well as imports of essential goods.
The main destinations to be served include Brussels (Belgium), London (United Kingdom) and Guangzhou (China).
Brussels and London are aimed at supporting exports to Europe while Guangzhou will allow access to medical supplies and other essentials required in the country.
Yvonne Makolo, the airline’s chief executive, told The New Times that the flights would enable local producers access international markets as well as the importation of necessary goods.
“We’re doing cargo flights to Brussels and London to support our exports. We’re also going to Guangzhou to pick up medical supplies/equipment required in the country,” she said.
This could among other things see the airline generate revenue during the COVID-19 containment period as well as ensure access to basic and essential goods that are not produced locally.
To further mitigate the COVID-19 the outbreak, the government on March 20, halted all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights, including the national carrier RwandAir for an initial period of 30 days.
However, cargo and emergency flights continue to operate, to allow for the country to continue getting the necessary supplies, according to the directive.
A recent virtual meeting by African aviation industry leaders to mull ways to increase chances of post COVID-19 recovery and survival observed that among the best chances of remaining relevant is changing some of their fleet from passenger to cargo planes to respond to the growing demand.
Speaking at the meeting, Sanjeev Ghadia, the Vice-Chairman, of the International Air Cargo Association, said that the temporary measure will make a big difference for airlines adopting it allowing them to maintain some revenue receipts.
Before suspending its passenger flights, RwandAir was operating 29 destinations across Africa, Europe and Asia.
By Collins Mwai