RwandAir has been granted the seventh freedom rights by the government of Benin, meaning it is allowed to base operations there and operate Benin and a third country without returning to Rwanda.
Following the approval, the company announced it will position two Boeing 737s in Cotonou and begin operations in the near future from its new second hub.
In addition, the governments of Benin and Rwanda have signed an MoU to establish a joint-venture airline owned by the two countries and based in Cotonou.
“The launch of this hub, will take air travel on our continent to the next level as RwandAir will be able to reach more countries in West and Central Africa with improved connections and more frequencies” said Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the Deputy CEO in Charge of Corporate Affairs of RwandAir.
The joint-venture airline plans to commence its initial operations providing air transportation for passengers and goods between and to Abidjan, Brazzaville, Douala, Libreville, Bamako, Dakar and Conakry.
“This will enable us to achieve our plans for the country’s aviation industry in order to make Cotonou a hub for the sub-region. Our second dream will become reality with the establishment of the national carrier of Benin through the Rwandan experience thus contributing to the development of our aviation and tourism sectors”, said Hervé Hehomey, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Benin.
“I’m pleased that our Rwandan brothers chose our national day to come and celebrate with us this cooperation which facilitates the creation of the Beninese-Rwandan airline by the end of this year” remarked Aurelien Agbenonci, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Benin.
“In the name of the Government of Rwanda, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Government of Benin that has allowed this audacious and solemn economic initiative to materialize. I’m very pleased that the negotiations ended in this mutually beneficial partnership for both countries” said Louise Mushikiwabo, the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister of Rwanda.
RwandAir will continue its operations from Kigali to Cotonou and provide seamless access to East and Southern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to the joint airline.