On Tuesday October 5, the national carrier RwandAir and Qatar Airways signed what was described as “a comprehensive codeshare agreement to offer travellers more choice, enhanced service, and greater connectivity to more than 65 destinations across Africa and the rest of the world.”
As part of the deal, the Rwandan flag carrier will also launch new non-stop flights between their Kigali hub and Doha in December, in what could be a gamechanger in regional aviation dynamics.
The agreement, which was penned in Doha, between the RwandAir CEO Yvonne Makolo and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker, will benefit travellers from across the globe who fly with both airlines, which expands each carrier’s route network.
“This is a major milestone for RwandAir and marks the beginning of an exciting new journey with Qatar Airways. We are also immensely proud to welcome Doha to our route network, connecting customers with Qatar’s hub and further expanding their flight map,” Makolo said.
“This codeshare agreement will give our customers significantly more choice and flexibility, allowing RwandAir to strengthen its global presence and build on its strong and loyal African customer base,” she added.
The airline says customers can enjoy the simplicity of buying connecting flights on both airlines using one reservation, with a seamless ticketing, check-in, boarding and baggage-check experience that encompasses the entire journey.
“As we continue to grow out of the pandemic, this partnership represents yet another extremely important step on our recovery runway, and we hope to deliver more commitments like this to our customers in the very near future,” Makolo added.
On his part, the Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive said the codeshare deal will be of great benefit to both airlines and countries, as travel across the globe begins to pick up.
“We share a very close and collaborative bond with Rwanda and welcome RwandAir’s new nonstop service between Kigali and our home in Doha,”
“With this comprehensive codeshare agreement, we are committed to deliver greater choice and connectivity to our customers in Africa and around the world,” Al-Baker said.
He said that the new partnership will help position Qatar Airways in the region and complement the airline’s African expansion strategy.
“As we brace ourselves to meet pent-up demand for travel, I see dynamic partnerships like this one propel travel, tourism and trade firmly on the path to recovery,” he added.
The new codeshare will enable RwandAir customers to book attractive offers to popular destinations in the U.S, such as New York, Washington D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles.
The partnership will also see these offers extend to key European cities, such as London, Zurich and Madrid, and points across Asia, such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
RwandAir says that those travelling on the national carrier will benefit from outstanding service, as the airline won the award for best airline staff in Africa at the 2021 Skytrax awards.
The agreement also increases Qatar Airways’ footprint in Africa, with access to destinations such as Bujumbura, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.
Both airlines recently announced a loyalty partnership, giving RwandAir Dream Miles and Qatar Airways Privilege Club loyalty members access to each other’s destinations.
This gives customers the opportunity to accrue and redeem miles across their reciprocal route networks and access the airlines’ airport lounges at both airline’s hub homes in Doha and Kigali.
RwandAir continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 25 destinations.
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Rwanda and Qatar had reached key agreements, which included construction of the new airport in Bugesera. As the pandemic subsides, the two countries are resuming engagements to strengthen the aviation sector in Rwanda.