Rwanda and Italy on Monday signed an air services agreement that will see the two countries open skies for each other’s commercial airlines, under what is known as bilateral air services agreements in aviation terms.
The agreement was signed in Kigali between Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure, Claver Gatete and Italy’s Ambassador to Uganda, Domenico Fornara who also oversees Italy’s interests in Rwanda and Burundi.
Gatete told the press that, the arrangement that was agreed upon last year in Sri Lanka between Rwanda and the European nation, could help expand Rwanda’s air transport network.
“This agreement was negotiated and agreed upon in Colombo, Sri Lanka last year in December, and now we are putting on a signature so that we can be able to benefit from it,” he revealed, adding that it also signifies the increasing cooperation between Italy and Rwanda.
The agreement also confers rights for the airlines of both countries to transport passengers and cargo, according to the managing director and chief executive officer of RwandAir, Yvonne Manzi Makolo.
But Fornara says, what was signed was a legal framework, which will form a basis on which other technical processes would follow.
“The agreement is a legal framework. It creates all the basis on which technical levels can work without further engaging political organisations,” he noted.
The agreement signed will now allow the national carrier, RwandAir, not only to operate air services to Italy but also widen its footprint in Europe as well as allow Italy’s commercial airlines to operate in Rwanda without restrictions.
From Kigali as its hub, RwandAir has ten aircraft and plans to increase its fleet to 20 in the next two years.
Its current fleet comprises two B737-700s, two B737-800s, two CRJ-900s, two Dash 8-400s, and two A330s.