Qatar Airways is in talks with Rwanda’s state-owned carrier to acquire a 49 percent stake in the African airline, according to its chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
Besides buying a stake in RwandaAir, Qatar Airways is also planning to increase its interest in LATAM Airlines Group to 20 percent.
Buying stakes in RwandaAir makes sense for Qatar Airways as it would open the possibility for Qatari carriers to bypass some of the restrictions that have been imposed by some GCC members.
Akbar Al Baker told the media, “In Africa there is a big demand for air travel and today Africa is very poorly connected, so we always look at opportunities in our field to do investments similar to what we have done in the past. We are very tough negotiators and we will take our time to negotiate.”
He also added, “When the right opportunity comes and at the right price we will look at increasing our investment in LATAM.”
Qatar Airways has been banned by the UAE and Saudi Arabia from its airspace after a political dispute. Due to the ban, the carrier has been forced to take longer routes to avoid the UAE and Saudi Arabia airspace. However, once the deal to buy RwandaAir is completed, Qatar Airways can carry its passengers from Africa to Qatar through the African carrier’s jets.
Recently, the carrier also announced that it will soon start flying to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The carrier is also evaluating the possibilities of flying to Ljubljana in Slovenia and Prishtina in Kosovo.
Interestingly, Qatar Airways signed a codeshare agreement last month, but not with another carrier. It signed the agreement with Germany’s national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn. Now, Qatar Airways offers passengers eight more destinations throughout Germany.