Qatar Airways eyes a piece of Africa and touches down in the land of a thousand hills to buy Rwandair

Qatar Airways Airbus A380.
  • Qatar Airways is set to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair, and begin the long journey of winning the hearts of African travellers.
  • Qatar Airways chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, made the announcement in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday. 
  • Since its establishments in 2003, Rwandair has slowly risen to become one of the key airlines in Africa. In 2018, the African airline was named among the most improved airlines in the World.

Middle Eastern’s Qatar Airways is going all out to gain a foothold in the heart of Africa and from there spread her tentacles all across the continent.

Weeks after taking a majority holding in the country’s new airport, Bugesera International Airport, Qatar Airways is set to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair, and begin the long journey of winning the hearts of African travellers.

The Middle Eastern carrier is investing in Rwandair after identifying Africa as a market with significant potential, Akbar Al Baker, its chief executive officer, said in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday.

“And we’re going to take a stake in their national carrier because we see that Africa is another region that has huge growth potential.”

Al Baker was quick to add that, however, it will take time to negotiate the purchase. The holding will be its first in the continent after a string of deals elsewhere.

In December last year, Qatar Airways agreed to acquire a 60% stake in Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport, located south of the capital Kigali, where an existing hub is at full capacity.

As part of the deal, the Gulf carrier will help build and run the $1.3 billion facility.

“It will be a very efficient hub in a very stable country in the heart of Africa,” Al Baker said.

Since it started operations in 2003, Rwandair has slowly risen to become one of the key airlines in Africa. In 2018, the African airline was named among the most improved airlines in the World at World's Airlines Awards.

With a fleet of twelve aircraft including two wide-body Airbuses A330 acquired last year, RwandAir currently reaches out to over 26 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

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