RWANDESE national airline, RwandAir, will begin flights to Harare beginning January next year as it continues to execute its expansion programme by adding six more destinations on the African continent.
In February, John Mirenge, RwandAir’s Chief Executive Officer, said the airline planned to open new routes to Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, Harare, Lilongwe in Malawi, Cotonou in Benin, Khartoum in Sudan and Bamako in Mali.
Mirenge told Sunday Times that Harare is an added destination to the airline’s other networks on the continent, which will especially “connect the people” of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The airline will be flying to Harare from Lusaka, Zambia.
“This is a route we see a lot of potential in and, definitely, we are very proud to launch next year,” Mirenge said.
“We are already in Lusaka but now we are going to connect two cities and neighboring countries; bring them into our wider network. Again, when we start in Europe, since there is a good connection between the people of Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom that will offer them an alternative airline.”
Zimbabwe state media on Saturday reported that the government there has welcomed RwandAir’s decision to fly to Harare as the two countries seek to boost tourism cooperation.
After attending a meeting between President Robert Mugabe and President Paul Kagame, in Kigali on Friday, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told reporters that he informed the two presidents about the tourism opportunities that exist between the two countries.
President Mugabe and his delegation are in Kigali to attend the African Union (AU) Summit.
“I was a guest of Rwanda Airlines at their offices at the airport. We agreed that beginning January, RwandAir will start servicing Harare. So they will be doing Kigali-Lusaka-Harare. We also explored the possibility in the future and not far too-distant of RwandAir doing Harare-Kigali-Guangzhou in China,” Mzembi said.
“In our third phase, on the back of their acquisitions of new Air- buses, even the possibility of them doing Harare-Kigali-London are actually in the horizon. So we are starting naturally with linking and connecting people and going forward to consummating a bilateral tourism Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries”.Advertisement
Mzembi said he was expected to meet with Rwanda’s Minister of Trade to start negotiations on the arrangement.
Meanwhile, earlier last week, Mirenge said that RwandAir will start flights to Mumbai, India later this year.
The airline intends to start operating four flights to Mumbai per week in December; flying its brand new A330-300 aircraft.
The national carrier has appointed India’s Bird Travel as the general sales agent as it prepares to launch the route.
Currently, RwandAir flies to 17 destinations including Nairobi, Entebbe, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Lusaka, Juba, Douala, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Johannesburg, Dubai, Lagos, Libreville and Brazzaville.