Doha based airline, Qatar Airways, is in talks to buy a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, RwandAir, as the Gulf airline looks to grow its presence in one of the world’s fast-growing markets.
Qatar Airways in talks to buy 49% RwandAir stake
Qatar Airways is in negotiations to buy a 49% stake in Africa’s RwandAir, its chief executive said on Wednesday. They are also interested in doubling their holding in LATAM Airlines Group to 20 percent. A stake in an African airline would widen the company’s reach in Africa. Africa is the region on the rise for the aviation industry. It could also possibly help Qatar go around restrictions imposed on it by some Arab states. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia banned Qatar from its airspace following a regional political dispute. Qatar Airways has been forced to fly longer routes to avoid the blocked airspace of some of its neighbors. The ban does not apply to airlines not owned by Qatar Airways flying to Qatar. With the RwandAir deal in negotiations, they could fly from Africa over the blocked airspace to the Doha hub without any airspace restrictions.
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, on Wednesday said he was negotiating to buy a stake in the state-owned airline, pointing to Africa as a region with big growth potential.
“We are very tough negotiators … we will take our time to negotiate,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters in Doha.
The news of the negotiations to buy a majority stake in the African carrier come a month after Qatar closed a deal to buy a 60% stake in Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport. The Bugesera International Airport is located in the capital, Kigali. Qatar Airways already owns stakes in LATAM, British Airways-parent International Airlines Group, China Southern and, Cathay Pacific. They bought stakes in these companies so they could avoid the ban imposed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
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