The governments of Rwanda and Ghana on Monday (21 May 2018) signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) liberalizing commercial flights between the two countries.
The agreement was signed between Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Transport, Eng. Jean De Dieu Uwihanganye and the Minister for Aviation of Ghana, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, at the Ministry of Infrastructure in Kigali.
Uwihanganye explained that the signing marks the first and very important step towards the fulfillment of constitutional formalities, so that once the latter are complied with by their two countries, the agreement comes into force.
He said the move will not only boost ties between the two countries but also provide more reliable and predictable air services, between and beyond.
Dapaah said air travel is essential to Africa to enhance connectivity, trade, job creation, drive tourism and economic growth.
She said: “Although the African air transport industry currently supports nearly seven million jobs and US$80 billion in GDP, it faces numerous challenges that hinder the potential growth of the industry.”
The challenges, she said, include poor intra-Africa connectivity, inadequate infrastructure and weak human capacity.
In April, the national carrier RwandAir, launched a new route to the Nigerian capital Abuja, operating flights four times a week between Kigali and Abuja, making it the airline’s second destination in the West African country, after the commercial hub Lagos.
From Abuja the airline connects to Accra, Ghana’s capital city.
Besides flights to Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, in Abuja, RwandAir also flies to many other West African countries and operates a regional hub in Benin. The Abuja route then brought RwandAir’s destinations to 25, in Africa, Europe and Asia, but they are now 26 after the airline recently dispatched its Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen to Cape Town International Airport, in its maiden flight to South Africa’s coastal city.
An air transport agreement (also called an air service agreement or ASA) is an agreement which two nations sign to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories.
A bilateral air service agreement is concluded between two contracting countries and liberalizes commercial civil aviation services between those countries.
Bilateral air services agreements permit designated airlines of contracting countries to operate commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and cargo between those two countries. Also they normally regulate frequency and capacity of air services between countries, pricing and other commercial aspects.
Such agreements contain provisions on; traffic rights – the routes airlines can fly, including cities that can be served within, between and beyond the bilateral partners; capacity the number of flights that can be operated or passengers that can be carried between the bilateral partners; and other clauses addressing competition policy, safety and security.
Rwanda has, in the past, signed BASAs with several countries including Cape Verde, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Lesotho, Swaziland, the Central Africa Republic (CAR), Canada, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania as part of government efforts to increase air connectivity and deepen trade in Africa and beyond.
Aviation Safety Management Symposium
The signing event was followed by a press conference on the joint International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) Aviation Safety Management Symposium, a four-day event, organized by ICAO and the Government of Rwanda starting Tuesday in Kigali. The ICAO is a specialized agency of the UN that codifies principles and techniques of international air navigation, and fosters planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.