Rwanda has signed and initialled a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with 20 countries to expand its air transport network.

Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of transport, last month signed the BASA on behalf of the government of Rwanda, at the eleventh International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2018).

ICAN2018 was held in Nairobi, Kenya, last month from December 10-14, and was hosted by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

ICAN2018 provided delegates with a central meeting place to conduct multiple bilateral (regional and plurilateral) air services negotiations and consultations. The forum provided participants with an opportunity to learn about current trends, discuss and exchange experiences, as well as providing excellent networking opportunities. Negotiations took place between states, regional groups and private operators.

The minister signed BASAs with various countries including Burkina Faso, Gambia, Greece, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Kingdom of Spain, Guyana and Comoros. He also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and initialed a further 9 BASAs with the Bahamas, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Finland, Jamaica, Luxembourg and South Korea.

The agreements would allow the national carrier, RwandAir, to operate air services to these countries, and allow the commercial airlines of the international partners to operate in Rwanda without restrictions, said the Ministry in a statement.

In the previous week, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame also signed a BASA with Equatorial Guinea, which is expected to allow RwandAir to fly to the country’s Malabo International Airport.

The signing of MoUs and BASAs with these countries presents Rwanda with a larger market to tap into with tourism offerings, and will enhance economic opportunities for the country across the globe.