Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways is set to acquire 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwand Air as it prepares to deepen it African operation in the aviation industry.
The move might is the fruition of bilateral talks held between both countries’ leaders last year in Kigali.
According to atqnews.com, the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar arrived in Kigali late last year to meet President Kagame for bilateral talks.
The two leaders had a Tête-à-Tête and later witnessed signing of four agreements in sectors of culture, sports, tourism and business events and aviation travel and logistics and ending the day with a State Dinner.
The Amir was welcomed by President Paul Kagame at Kigali International Airport.
According to bloomberg.com, The Gulf airline is investing in Rwandair after identifying Africa as a market with significant potential, Akbar Al Baker, its chief executive officer, said in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday. The holding being negotiated will be its first in the continent after a string of deals elsewhere.
Qatar Airways agreed in December to acquire a 60% stake in Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport, located south of the capital Kigali, where an existing hub is at full capacity. As part of the deal, the Gulf carrier will help build and run the $1.3 billion facility.
“It will be a very efficient hub in a very stable country in the heart of Africa,” Al Baker said. “And we’re going to take a stake in their national carrier because we see that Africa is another region that has huge growth potential.”
The CEO said that Qatar Airways remains intent on investing in InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., India’s biggest airline, but is waiting for the right opportunity and the resolution of a clash between existing shareholders.
Al Baker praised China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying the Asian nation is doing a “fantastic job” in dealing with the epidemic, while suggesting that the global reaction has been “out of proportion.”
The executive said he plans to attend next week’s Singapore air show regardless of the outbreak, and won’t be wearing a face mask.