Qatar Airways To Take Control Of RwandAir, Add It To oneworld?

Prior to the pandemic Qatar Airways was looking at taking a 49% stake in RwandAir after already having invested in and taken control of the new Kigali airport.

The plan was to improve RwandAir’s systems and quality, and bring them into oneworld although it was not clear at the time whether the airline would become a full or ‘connect’ member of the alliance.

After nearly five years of discussions, punctuated by the pandemic, Qatar Airways finally looks ready to take the stake in RwandAir this summer.

RwandAir expects Qatar Airways to finalise its purchase of a major stake in the central African country’s carrier as early as next month, chief executive Yvonne Makolo [said]…Earlier this year, Qatar Airways CEO Badr Mohammed Al Meer said that Qatar Airways will soon announce an investment in an airline in southern Africa.

Credit: RwandAir

Currently RwandAir is fully state-owned. For historical colonial reasons, Rwanda has ties to Belgium and RwandAir flies to Brussels. It also flies to Paris and to London Heathrow. They already fly to Doha (and Dubai). Mostly, though, they have a route network across Africa. RwandAir operates a mix of Airbus A330s for long haul and Boeing 737s and regional aircraft for short haul.

Currently, oneworld has a huge hole in its Africa route network and this would be a fantastic addition if made a full member.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “taken control of the Kigali airport” … is this true? I was under the impression that Bugesera International Airport, the new international airport under construction, is where Qatar has a stake.

  2. for historical colonial reasons, Rwanda has ties to Belgium and to Belgium and RwandAir fliest to Brussels. It also flies to Paris

    Gary. Use AI if you must but proofread these damn things

  3. A fleet of less than 10 planes! Unless they rapidly expand, they will add a notional few extra destinations to OneWorld and that’s it.

  4. Europeans seem increasingly inclined to try to pay to make Rwanda into a holding facility for those who seek asylum or refugee status in Europe. If those kind of plans take-off, RwandaAir may see an increase in government business and provide for some more in-flight video drama captured on smartphones.

  5. oneworld definitely needs more Africa to Africa options. Nothing at all currently in sub-Saharan Africa, and Morocco isn’t a good connecting place except within a limited region. I would assume Qatar would work to broaden RwandAir’s rather limited route map.

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