Aboard the inaugural non-stop flight on the 737-800 Next Generation Aircraft were 102 people, including officials, the CEO of the Rwanda National Carrier Mme Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the Israel Ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam and others.
The route, the 29th RwandAir is flying, will be operated three times a week: on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays using the Boeing 737-800NG. The Aircraft has 16 seats in business class and 138 seats in economy class.
The Airline is looking to cash in on many religious tourists from West and Central Africa via Kigali. Tel Aviv is also considered the economic and technology centre of Israel, with many trading opportunities.
Speaking at the launch, the CEO of RwandAir, Ms Yvonne Manzi Makolo noted that Tel Aviv route is a strategic one and will boost tourism as well as trade. The new route will boost tourism, both religious and historical, while more Israelis are expected to visit Rwanda.
She said “The route is going to solidify our cooperation with Israel and it will boost tourism and trade between our two countries. We are going to see more people from Israel coming to visit Rwanda and more Rwandans going to Israel and this will be great for two Nations”.
Annually, hundreds of devout Christians from Rwanda go to Israel to visit Holy Places. Tel Aviv is one of the world’s leading tech hubs and the airline is targeting flying business travelers as well as Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.
Israel provides strong links in 3 Sectors of crucial importance to Rwanda’s economy. These are modern agriculture where Israel has pioneered global innovations, ICT and entrepreneurship for a country referred to a start-up nation.
In April, Tel Aviv formally opened its Embassy in Kigali, making it easy for Rwandans to acquire visas to Israel. Previously visas to Israel were obtained in Nairobi or Addis Ababa.
Ambassador to Rwanda, H.E Ron Adam, who was also on board the maiden flight stressed the significance of the development to the ties between the peoples of the two Countries.
“It signifies that the relationships are tightening and we need to look for more passengers coming from both sides, incoming and outbound tourism and also imports, exports and people are going to get more connected”, he said.
He also noted that right now, Rwandans are going to start getting Israel visas as his Embassy had already started issuing visas to Israel, adding that more Israel would be coming to Rwanda because of the accessibility that has been afforded by the direct flight.
Recently, RwandAir launched its 28th route to Guangzhou, China.