RwandAir will unveil flights to two new Southern African destinations starting next month.
RwandAir will operate three flights per week to Zambia starting March 27, enroute to Johannesburg, with fifth freedom rights, and later Zimbabwe, once the ongoing negotiation on landing and route rights are completed. RwandAir already operates daily flights to Johannesburg.
“The number of travellers from East Africa heading to the Southern Africa states is increasing. Zambia’s economy is improving and tourism arrivals are on the rise,” John Mirenge, RwandAir’s chief executive officer said.
Zambia’s economic growth is projected to rise from 6.5 per cent in 2014 to 7 per cent this year driven mainly by agriculture, manufacturing, construction and mining.
Reports shows that Zambia, which recorded an increase in the number of international arrivals by 6.7 per cent to 912,576 in 2013, was projecting increased tourist arrivals of 1.2 million in 2014 with some of the arrivals drawn from Kenya and Tanzania.
Zambia attributes the increase in tourist arrivals to improvement in the aviation sector due to the entry of new airlines into the country including low cost carrier-Fastjet.
Zimbabwe’s tourist ministry said that the country’s tourist arrivals maintained an upward trend, surging from 1.8 million foreign visitors in 2013 to two million last year, following the introduction of a single visa by Zimbabwe and Zambia dubbed the Kaza Visa which costs only $50 and allows tourists to visit the two states.
Mr Mirenge said the airline is also eyeing flights to Abidjan and Cotonou in Ivory Coast and Benin, respectively, during the year.
RwandAir’s move is likely to stir competition with the Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, which have been dominating the routes.