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Rwanda’s international airport reopens to general aviation

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Kigali International Airport, Rwanda’s main airport, has opened to general aivation since Thursday, its operator said Friday.

Arriving passengers should carry out COVID-19 tests 72 hours before travelling to Rwanda and present the test certificate by an ISO (International Standard Organization) certified laboratory, Rwanda Airports Company said in a public notice, adding that a mandatory COVID-19 test will be conducted upon arrival.

It also required all travelers to wear face masks and practice social distancing while at the Kigali International Airport.

The move further eased the restrictions to the aviation sector that were aimed at containing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda.

On Wednesday the government allowed international tourists to enter the country with charter flights as it reopened tourism activities.

The central African country suspended all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights from midnight on March 20, one day before it closed borders, except for goods, cargos and returning citizens, to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has “greatly impacted” its national flag carrier RwandAir, which in April said it had resolved to reduce employees’ salaries as part of measures to reduce expenditure.

The small landlocked country is seeking to become a regional aviation hub for both passengers and cargos, with a vision that aims at making it one of the major aviation hubs in Africa.

Last December, the Rwandan government signed an investment partnership agreement with Qatar Airways for a new international airport project which was expected to accommodate 7 million passengers per year and have the capacity to handle 14 million passengers annually by 2032.

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