SOUTH Africa’s national carrier has postponed the re-opening of the Kigali route to January 2012 – cancelling an earlier launch that had been planned for October 31 this year.
SAA said some before the first date elapsed that the Johannesburg-Kigali-Bujumbura route will return on January 17. Despite frosty relations between South Africa and Rwanda, SAA indicated the changes are motivated by business factors. The route was suspended about three years ago as SAA reorganised its business to focus more on profitable routes.
“We have seen more demand from both recreational and business travellers for expanded routes and travel options and this move helps meet that demand,” said Theven Krishnam, SAA’s head of Australasia. “Rwanda is growing as an economic and cultural as well as tourist destination…” he added.
The return route from OR Tambo International Airport to Kigali and on to Bujumbura will be served by the A319 aircraft that carries 120 passengers. There will be three flights per week. Clients can book on the maiden flights from the SAA website and other reservation agencies.
SAA – considered a prime carrier on the African continent, is a publicly listed company with the South African government also holding a stake. Kigali and Pretoria are silently embroiled in a spat following the attempted assassination of exiled ex-army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa. Rwanda denies any role.