In a bid to spread its tentacles into Africa and widen its reach in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation regions, Qatar Airways is in talks to buy a 49% stake in Africa’s RwandAir while also expressing interest in Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, a stake in an African airline would widen its reach in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation regions and potentially help it to bypass restrictions imposed on it by some Arab states.
“It will be a very efficient hub in a very stable country in the heart of Africa. We’re going to take a stake in their national carrier because we see that Africa is another region that has huge growth potential” he said
Similarly, RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo confirmed that talks to sell a stake were underway but declined to comment further.
RwandAir currently flies to 29 destinations, mostly in Africa, but also to Dubai, Mumbai and Brussels.
State-owned Qatar Airways already owns stakes in British Airways parent International Airlines Group, China Southern, Cathay Pacific and LATAM.
It bought some of its holdings in other airlines after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia banned it from their airspace after a regional political dispute.
Qatar Airways, which flies to more than 160 destinations, has been forced to fly longer routes to avoid the blocked airspace of some of its neighbours.
The ban does not apply to non-Qatari airlines flying to Qatar, meaning that RwandAir could potentially carry passengers from Africa over the blocked airspace to the state-owned airline’s Doha hub without restrictions.