News

Rwanda suspends commercial flights amid Covid-19 outbreak

Rwadnair

A RwandAir plane. PHOTO | FILE

Summary

  • The suspension also affects its national carrier RwandAir. However, cargo and emergency flights will be allowed to operate.

Rwanda has suspended all commercial passenger flights from and to Kigali for 30 days starting Friday midnight in a bid to curb the fast-spreading coronavirus in the country.

The suspension also affects its national carrier RwandAir. However, cargo and emergency flights will be allowed to operate.

The decision to suspend air travel comes after Rwanda confirmed three more coronavirus cases on Wednesday —the fourth time in a row after the first case was reported last Saturday.

Initially, RwandAir had suspended flights to and from China —the first country in the world to be hit by Covid-19—, Israel and India, a decision that was taken few days before confirmed cases were reported in Rwanda.

On Tuesday, Kenya’s budget airline Jambojet suspended flights to Kigali and Entebbe in Uganda, citing a sharp decline in passenger numbers.

Its national carrier, Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, has also suspended flights to some coronavirus-hit countries.

Africa's aviation industry is expected to experience significant losses due to restrictions on air travel during the coronavirus epidemic, as many airlines have been financially struggling, according to the African Airline Association (AFRAA).

“The financial situation for African airlines was not good to begin with. According to figures from 2018, African airlines were losing on average $1.09 per passenger. It is really a crisis for airlines now,” AFRAA’s Secretary-General Abdérahmane Berthé said last week.