(eTN) – It was learned overnight that South African Airways (SAA) intends to commence flights from Johannesburg to Bujumbura, Burundi, and on to Kigali, Rwanda, three times a week from sometime in October this year.
The South African flag carrier had gone off the route a few years ago and had left flights to RwandAir, which presently operates four times a week between Rwanda and South Africa.
Though traffic days could not be immediately ascertained, it is expected that SAA will fly between the two countries on the days RwandAir is not operating. Questions on a possible codeshare between the two airlines, as has been the case in the more distant past, are pending and have not been answered at the time of going to press.
The return of SAA to Rwanda has been attributed to growing demand by tourist and business travelers in both directions, and the inclusion of Bujumbura enroute is also giving Burundi greater access by air. Burundi, unlike Rwanda, which has become Anglophone, is still overwhelmingly a French-speaking country and has been largely left out from the East African safari tourism circuits, though business visitors are now streaming in and out in order to explore investment and trade opportunities as the East African Community’s domestic market protocols progressively take root.