(eTN) – The tourism industry got a valuable lobbying ally when the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) put their weight behind pending requests to construct more helipads, airstrips, and aerodromes across the “land of a thousand hills.” The RDF’s main aim was to be able to organize rescue missions in case of natural disasters, which would greatly benefit from improved aerial capabilities, while the tourism sector, of course, sees added aviation facilities as another way to attract more tourists and have them travel the country with ease and in comfort by flying to some of the national parks and game reserves.
Rwanda presently has one international airport and five airfields, some of them in urgent need for rehabilitation and modernization, which is considered insufficient considering the topography of the country.
In other Rwanda air travel news, RwandAir kicked off its flights to Dubai with special airfares. The aircraft used will be a leased B737-500, due to be substituted in a year’s time when two brand new B737-800 will join the fleet.
On a different note, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated their inaugural flight into Kigali’s Kanombe International Airport, opening a new chapter of connectivity by air to the rest of the world for Rwanda. KLM will now operate 5 weekly flights from Amsterdam to Kigali with a stop en route in Entebbe, Uganda, ostensibly to improve load factors. This mirrors the long-standing and successful concept of Brussels Airlines, which now operates daily between Brussels and Eastern Africa, all flights being “triangular” with two airports being served by each flight. Flights between Kigali and Brussels on SN are codeshared with RwandAir, and the two will undoubtedly be well prepared for the entry of archrival KLM.