Qatar Airways Cargo has officially launched operations at the Kigali Africa hub in association with Rwandan national flag carrier Rwandair.
Qatar Airways Cargo’s Moved by People Boeing 777 freighter landed at Kigali International Airport on 3 May. Qatar Airways Cargo’s Chief Officer, Guillaume Halleux, and Yvonne Makolo, Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir then officially launched operations at the Kigali Africa Hub.
Doha to Kigali services
The Boeing 777 aircraft will now fly from Doha to Kigali twice a week. Since March, Qatar Airways Cargo created an intra-Africa service between Kigali and Lagos operated thrice weekly, and a weekly service from Istanbul via Doha to Kigali.
These freight services were all operated by an Airbus A310 aircraft, and further destinations from Kigali will be announced soon.
In the run-up to the Kigali Cargo Hub launch, QAS Cargo, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, provided consultancy support to RwandAir Cargo to help improve its cargo handling performance.
A team from QAS Cargo visited the cargo handling facilities and presented RwandAir with a detailed action plan for operational improvements and handling performance.
The team is now working together on a future roadmap, including a proposed improvement plan for its warehouse infrastructure, which will form part of a long-term strategic plan for the cargo division of RwandAir.
Qatar Airways statement
Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways said: “Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, yet for it to develop to its full potential requires investment in logistics infrastructures.”
“Qatar and Rwanda have long-enjoyed bilateral trade agreements, with both Qatar Airways and Qatar Investment Authority having previously invested in Kigali International Airport and RwandAir.”
“It was therefore a logical step that Qatar Airways Cargo supports RwandAir in its cargo ambitions. Our customers will benefit from both a reliable intra-African network through our Kigali hub, as well as enhanced service levels and cost synergies.”
“We are proud to partner with RwandAir in establishing Kigali as the Central African hub in preparation for the Next Generation of air cargo on this fast-growing continent.”
Yvonne Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, said: “We are very proud to partner with Qatar Airways Cargo to launch today the brand-new Kigali Cargo Hub to open up new cargo opportunities across Africa.”
“Africa is home to a hugely diverse economy, with businesses and entrepreneurs looking for better connections to create new markets and expand inward investment.”
“Together in partnership, RwandAir and Qatar Airways Cargo have created a fantastic new facility to meet this growing demand across Africa to further generate the business boom which will power economies in every corner of the continent.”
Developing the African network
Qatar Airways Cargo currently serves 28 cities in Africa, operating a mixture of both dedicated freighter and belly-hold services, which carries up to 2,800 tonnes of freight to and from Africa.
The launch of Qatar Airways Cargo’s first cargo hub outside Qatar, and in collaboration with RwandAir, creates a strong foundation on which to expand a future-oriented African air cargo network.
The partnership move is set to meet the anticipated 3%-5% annual economic growth forecast for the continent over the next decade. More African destinations are due to be added to the network at a later stage.