National carrier RwandAir plans flights to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, starting on April 17.
The move marks a new dawn in bilateral and trade relations between the two countries, which have had frosty relations for many years.
Kinshasa will be RwandAir’s 23rd route in Africa and 27th destination globally. The carrier said it will operate three weekly direct flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from its Kigali hub to N’Djili International Airport, DR Congo’s largest airport.
“This new route will support our growth and increase our footprint in Africa. We also believe the addition of Kinshasa will boost business and strengthen commercial ties between the two countries” said Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir chief executive officer.
This comes at a time when Rwanda has closed its borders with Uganda and there is no respite in the impasse with Burundi.
The rapprochement with Kinshasa presents a fresh opportunity for Rwanda to mend relations with DR Congo, which constitutes one of its biggest external markets in Africa.
At the Africa CEO summit in Kigali, DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi pledge a new era of regional and bilateral co-operation between his country and regional neighbours to create new business opportunities that will transform the lives of all Africans.
Kinshasa is the third-largest urban area in Africa after Lagos and Cairo, and hosts the country’s major industrial and commercial companies.