Rwanda gains Category 1 FAA rating, opening up direct routes with the US

Abdul N Quraishi – Abs /Shutterstock

The Republic of Rwanda has achieved an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 rating, according to a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcement.  

The Category 1 rating recognizes Rwanda’s civil aviation authority as compliant with ICAO standards and allows Rwandan air carriers to operate services to the United States, according to a statement released by the FAA.  

“Under a Category 1 rating, properly authorized Rwandan air carriers are permitted to serve the United States and enter into code-share agreements with U.S. carriers without limitation,” the FAA noted.  

The FAA explained that its IASA program “focuses on a country’s ability to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices.”   

“The standards are set by ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation,” the FAA continued.  

Direct flights to and from the US for Rwandan airlines  

The FAA announcement is favorable for Rwanda-based airlines, such as RwandAir, should the Rwandan national carrier seek to expand its international network or add codeshare partnerships with US airlines. RwandAir currently serves the US market through a codeshare partnership with Qatar Airways.   

According to a statement issued by the airline on December 2, 2021, RwandAir According to a statement, RwandAir commenced direct flights to Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar on December 2, 2021, facilitated by the codeshare deal signed with Qatar Airways on October 5, 2021.  

The codeshare deal enabled customers to fly to different cities like New York, Washington D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles, London, Zurich and Madrid, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.  

This also follows Qatar Airways’ announcement that it had a 49% stake in RwandAir.   

However, the Kigali based airline may take a similar approach to its service of the US market following the launch of its direct non-stop between London Heathrow and Kigali from November 6, 2022.  

RwandAir operated flights to London via Brussels for five years before launching direct non-stop flights to London Heathrow Airport.  


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