In an effort to address the rising demand for flights in Africa, Qatar Airways has made a bid to acquire a 49 percent stake in Rwanda’s national carrier RwandaAir.
According to a news report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the move by Qatar Airways was informed by the need to grow the airline’s global footprint and customer base.
“In Africa, there is big demand for air travel and today Africa is very poorly connected so we always look at opportunities in our field for investment. It is a 49 percent stake that we are negotiating for in RwandaAir. The attraction of Kigali is its location, the stability of the country and the very favourable business environment that exists in that country,” the CEO of Qatar Airways, Mr. Baker al-Baker, told a press conference on the sidelines of an international aviation conference in Doha according to AFP.
Ever since Qatar was issued an embargo by adjacent Gulf countries in June 2017, the state owned airline has been aggressively trying to expand its footprint in order to return to profit making. In the fiscal year to March 2019, the airline registered a loss of US$639 million.
To this effect, the airline – which has a fleet of 250 modern aircrafts- has been looking at acquisitions in order to augment its revenue collection streams. In January 2019, the airline successfully acquired a five percent stake in China Southern Airlines. Qatar Airways similarly owns stakes in International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Italy’s Meridiana and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific. Mr. Baker consequently revealed that the airline was eyeing a stake in IndiGo, India’s largest budget airline.
In June 2019, the airline was named the World’s Best Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show in France. The carrier similarly won awards for the World’s Best Business Class, the World’s Business Class Seat and the Best Airline in the Middle East.