Qatar Airways is in talks to acquire about 49 percent stake in Rwanda’s national air carrier, RwandAir. this follows a few months the Gulf airline bought 60 percent shares in Rwanda’s international airport in Bugesera.
A stake in Rwandair would widen the company’s reach and gain a foothold in the heart of Africa as well as a niche in the world’s fastest-growing aviation regions. The acquisition would help Qatar Airways to spread her tentacles across the continent and also help it bypass restrictions imposed on it by some Arab states.
“We are very tough negotiators … we will take our time to negotiate,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al-Baker told reporters on Wednesday in the Qatari capital of Doha.
Aljazeera news reported that Qatar Airways already owns stakes in British Airways-parent International Airlines Group, China Southern, Cathay Pacific and Chile’s LATAM Airlines Group. It bought some of its stakes in other airlines since once-lucrative markets the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia banned it from its airspace in 2017 amid a regional diplomatic rift.
Qatar Airways 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. RwandAir could potentially carry passengers from Africa over the blocked airspace to the state-owned airline’s hub in Doha without any airspace restrictions.