By BOSCO HITIMANA | BusinessWeek
KIGALI, RWANDA — Rwandair and Ethiopian Airlines have entered into a code share agreement to boost their visibility.
Under two national flag carriers’partnership, Rwandair will serve as the marketing carrier while Ethiopian Airlines will be the operating carrier.
Ethiopian Airlines Vice President Commercial, Mr. Tadesse Adane and Rwandair Chairman, Mr. Gerald Zirimwabagabo recently signed the agreement in Kigali, Rwanda.
“This is a major milestone in the development of Rwandair and the airline industry in our country,” Zirimwabagabo said after signing.
He said the small airline is looking for partnerships that will allow its clients fly beyond its destinations.
The Ethiopian carrier, according to Tadesse, seeks partners to develop and increase its market share in southern Africa, particularly the Rwandan market.
Tadesse said the airline has embarked on helping African small airlines to be competitive and boost the African airline industry. He said currently the carrier flies daily to and from Kigali and that he hopes the new partnership will ‘greatly’ double the flights.
The two airlines are incomparable in both resources and market share but the airlines’ bosses believe they will reap from the partnership.
Rwandair’s code share with Ethiopian Airlines came following similar partnerships with other major airlines including Brussels Airlines, and the USA- based Virgin Atlantic Airlines to boost its visibility.
The airline is also pursuing an ambitious plan to purchase two used CRJ aircraft from Lufthansa, a Germany based carrier, with ambitions to reposition in the regional aviation industry.
Currently Rwandair operates three aircraft on lease while Ethiopian Airlines commands 35 aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines has been crowned the African Airline of Year 2009.