Qatar Airways Launches Doha-Kigali Route
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at around two o’clock the brand new Qatar Airways Airbus A320 Neo touched down amidst water salutes and traditional Kinyarwanda performances at Kigali International Airport.
Welcoming the world’s biggest airline to Kigali was the Chief Guest, the Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Albert Nsengiyumva accompanied by the State Minister in the Ministry of Infrastructure in charge of Transport Dr. Alex Nzahabwanimana among other top government officials plus heads of private businesses and other organizations.
The CEO of Qatar Airways Mr. Akbar Al Baker led his crew to Kigali to officially launch the airline’s 17th destination on the continent during a cocktail organized right at Kigali International Airport gardens.
A few months ago, Qatar Airways also launched in Uganda, Entebbe International Airport, and is now operating daily flights twice to Nairobi and Dar el Salam. The Kigali-Doha (Qatar’s capital) route too will operate daily flights according to information provided by Qatar Airways with connection to even farther destinations beyond Africa; in Europe, Middle East, South Asia, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
At the recent annual Skytrax World Airline Awards, Qatar was voted the Airline of the Year 2011 after reaching 100 destinations in its global route map. Mr. Akbar in his (route) inaugural speech said the Kigali-Doha route now brings the Qatar destination network to a total of 113 destinations.
Rwanda, an economically fast growing nation but landlocked envisages investing heavily in air transport to open up easier and faster connections to the rest of the world for business. The regulatory, legal and infrastructural developments in Rwanda’s aviation sector have attracted big international airlines to Kigali in recent times, notably; KLM, South African, and now Qatar Airways. It is rumored that Turkish Airline is also seriously eyeing Rwanda.
Mr. Akbar mentioned that among the factors that drove Qatar Airways to open Kigali-Qatar route are; potential of high demand, abundant tourism opportunities, possible business cargo freight opportunities, among other economic opportunities like the mining sector. “We have extended our reach to yet another underserved market,” he remarked.
Minister Nsengiyumva pledged full government support, and a possibility of RwandAir-Qatar Airways Partnership, possibly code sharing to enable the national carrier reach out to farther destinations.
“The Government of Rwanda is ready to partner with Qatar Airways. Doha to Kigali route will bring mutual benefit between our two countries.
Rwanda is keen to set up a partnership with Qatar Airways to benefit our national carrier”, he disclosed
See detailed story in our March Edition coming soon…