Qatar Airways set for further African investment

The CEO of Qatar Airways announced today that the Gulf airline is preparing to announce an investment in a southern African airline in order to expand its network on the continent.

Image: Qatar Airways

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha today, Qatar’s CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said: "We are at the final stage of an equity investment in an airline in the southern part of Africa," adding the deal could be announced in two to three weeks.

Meer, who became CEO in November, said the southern part of Africa was a gap in Qatar Airways' network coverage on the continent.

Qatar’s investment strategy in sub-Saharan Africa is not new. Meer’s predecessor Akbar Al Baker revealed plans for a major cash injection to Rwanda’s aviation industry when speaking at the 2019 Aviation Africa Summit in Rwanda.

That deal Qatar Airways in 2019 took a 60 percent stake in a new $1.3 billion international airport being built in Rwanda and has code share agreements and partnership arrangements with several airlines in Africa including Rwandair.

Rwandair’s CEO, Yvonne Makolo was also on the panel, where she said the new airport would be operational by 2026.

Meer said the airline wants to expand the fleets of its partner airlines in Africa to improve connectivity for both passengers and cargo.

He also hinted that the new Bugasera airport near Kigali would be the likely hub for Qatar’s African operations.