The Aviation Africa Summit and exhibition this year co-located with SMIESA – the 1st World Airports event – was opened on Monday, September 12, 2022 by Rwandan President Paul Kagame with a strong message of support for the aviation industry along with a reaffirmed determination to see Africa progress with its ‘Open Skies’ actions.
The President said in his opening speech: “The Covid-19 pandemic severely affected the aviation industry’s vision worldwide and Africa is no exception. Airlines and airports around the world are facing massive layoffs”.
“Now travel and tourism are getting back to normal. Recovery means increasing connectivity, stimulating demand and creating jobs and open skies help to lead our businesses to regional and global supply chains boosting trade and investment,” he added.
“This is why the full implementation of the symbol of the African transport market must remain a top priority for Rwanda as it continues to grow,” President Kagame stressed.
He said: “Rwandair serves 24 routes 19 of which are regional. We intend to continue expanding within the continent and abroad,” adding, “We are working together with our partner award winning Qatar Airways, and the new National Airport, Bugesera, which is currently under construction. This will become a regional hub for passengers and cargo.”
Key guest speaker Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Aways, has huge confidence in Rwanda’s growth. “Qatar Airways started off small, today; we are the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title five times. This is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence for the airline industry,” he said. “I know Rwanda will continue to grow and it’s national airline, Rwandair, will be just as successful.”
The sixth edition of the Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition is the biggest event yet, with 1100 attendees from 84 countries converging on the Kigali Convention Center. The audience includes government ministers, air chiefs of staff and director generals of civil aviation authorities with representatives from 35 African nations.