Rwanda and Tunisia on Monday signed two milestone agreements on civil aviation, marking an important step to upgrade the rules and standards for flights between the two countries.
According to journalducameroun.com, the pact was signed on the sidelines of African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by the Tunisian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Bachtobji and his Rwandan counterpart, Dr Vincent Biruta, the official statement said.
It said that the new agreement will set a new benchmark by including provisions not normally covered by bilateral air transport agreements, such as social or environmental matters.
Beyond traffic rights, the Tunisia-Rwanda agreement provides a single set of rules, high standards and a platform for future cooperation on a wide range of aviation issues, such as safety, security or air traffic management.
Under the agreement, all commercial flight operators from Rwanda and Tunisia will be allowed to operate inbound and outbound flight services between the two countries.
The agreement will enable Rwanda’s National carrier Rwandair and Tunisia flag carrier TUNISAIR to fly to and from Kigali and Tunis respectively with a minimum of one stopover but less fatigue for passengers doing business between the two regions.
Apart from Tunisia, other countries that have signed the agreement include Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Sierra Leone, and South Africa Swaziland.
Relatedly, Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways recently acquired 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwand Air as it prepares to deepen it African operation in the aviation industry.
The move might is the fruition of bilateral talks held between both countries’ leaders last year in Kigali.
According to atqnews.com, the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar arrived in Kigali late last year to meet President Kagame for bilateral talks.
The two leaders had a Tête-à-Tête and later witnessed signing of four agreements in sectors of culture, sports, tourism and business events and aviation travel and logistics and ending the day with a State Dinner.
The Amir was welcomed by President Paul Kagame at Kigali International Airport.
The Gulf airline is investing in Rwandair after identifying Africa as a market with significant potential, Akbar Al Baker, its chief executive officer, said in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday. The holding being negotiated will be its first in the continent after a string of deals elsewhere.
Qatar Airways agreed in December to acquire a 60% stake in Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport, located south of the capital Kigali, where an existing hub is at full capacity. As part of the deal, the Gulf carrier will help build and run the $1.3 billion facility.