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May 20, 2024

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Qatar Airways CEO Badr Mohammed al Meer shared an update on the carriers activities in Africa.  Qatar currently flies to more than 30 African destinations, and its network in North Africa, West Africa and East Africa are growing organically.  But in Central and Southern Africa,  Qatar is struggling to grow and plans acquisitions to speed up the process.

In Central Africa, Qatar is finalizing a 49% equity stake in Rwandair, providing a base at the new airport in Kigali, that Qatar owns a 60% stake in.  It is likely that Rwandair, a small carrier, will increase its fleet of less than 20 aircraft and that Qatar will provide long-haul connectivity from Kigali. Code sharing  routes already exist.

In Southern Africa, Qatar is currently in negotiations for an equity investment in a locally-based airline, as yet unidentified.  Speculation that the carriers may be SAA or Airlink, each of which could provide connecting traffic via Doha for Qatar’s network.

The Bottom Line

Qatar sees Africa as a potential differentiation between it and other Gulf carriers, and already has an extensive African network.  The joint venture and code-sharing opportunities in Rwanda and Southern Africa could provide additional feed to Qatar’s international hub at Doha, which opens up multiple new potential routes.  Most Africans travel long-haul on holiday, rather than between African countries, an ideal opportunity to Qatar. An equity investment that helps professionalize struggling African carriers is a benefit to the industry.

author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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