Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz has said Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair, will be bigger than Kenya Airways (KQ) in five years owing to the subsidies and the investments the government of Rwanda has made in its aviation industry.
While appearing before parliament, the under fire, Mikosz said Kenya Airways (KQ) is losing out to state-owned airlines like Ethiopian Airlines(ET) and Rwandair who, unlike KQ, are not required to pay a dividend to shareholders.
“KQ has the highest structure of costs in the region unlike Rwandair and Ethiopian which is fully government funded,” Mikosz is quoted by Kenyan media.
KQ has lost over 4% market share to ET and Rwandair which have grown their market by 20 percent and 22 percent respectively.
“Rwanda Airlines have increased their capacity to 100 aircrafts while KQ has 40 planes. Ethiopian is creating Africa’s largest fleet cost,” added Mikosz.
Mikosz explained KQ’s competitors, including the gulf carriers, have controlled integrated aviation industry in contrast to Kenya’s fragmented approach.
Ethiopia, Rwanda, Turkey, Uganda, Tanzania all have integrated aviation operation according to Mikosz.
RwandAir will launch flights to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital on 17th of April.
RwandAir will operate three weekly direct flights from Kigali hub to N’Djili International Airport, the largest of the four international airports in DRC.
The route will be operated on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays by a Boeing 737-800NG offering 15 seats in business class and 136 seats in economy class.
In May 2019, RwandAir plans to operate three additional night flights a week to Kinshasa with a CRJ-900NextGen offering 7 seats in business and 68 in economy class.
Kinshasa will be the 23 RwandAir destinations in Africa extending the airlines network to 27 destinations globally.
The development follows the recent signing of a bilateral service air agreement that will allow RwandAir to fly to Kinshasa by officials from both countries signed in March this year in DRC.
Addressing a continental aviation summit in Kigali recently, President Paul Kagame urged African countries to open up airspace to make it easy for travelers, businesses and operators to move across the continent.
“Protectionism of airspace among ourselves is a short-sighted policy, which only serves to keep our continental market fragmented, inefficient, and expensive, thereby reducing opportunities for African firms,” Kagame said.
It is important to attract more African countries to join the Single African Air Transport Market, and to fully implement its provisions in order to reduce the cost of travel and doing business in Africa, he said.
Sixteen countries in Africa are landlocked, which is almost one-third of Africa, according to him.
Liberalization of airspace means many more high-quality jobs for African pilots, engineers and service personnel, he said.
Protectionism, which has been sustaining local carriers, has impeded the growth of the aviation industry in Africa.