LONDON – Qatar Airways is pushing African carrier RwandAir to raise its standards to Join the Oneworld Alliance. The two carriers currently have an agreement which makes it even more beneficial to Qatar should they manage to join the Oneworld Alliance.
Expanding Oneworld in Africa
Without the interference of Qatar Airways, it is unlikely that the carrier would have ever met the standards to join the alliance due to budget constraints. The partnership between the two national carriers began last year, which was purely based on business benefits, such as interline agreements, and reciprocal loyalty scheme benefits.
Yvonne Makolo, Rwandair CEO stated: “As we continue to expand our partnership with Qatar Airways, we are always looking for ways to improve our customer offering and global reach.”
“We are therefore exploring the possibility of entering the Oneworld alliance. This would be a perfect fit for Rwandair and help us forge closer ties with like-minded airline partners overseas.”
Alliances in Africa are still at an infantry stage. Royal Air Maroc is currently the only Oneworld member on the continent, with the Moroccan flag carrier joining the alliance in April 2020.
On the other hand, the more established member, Kenya Airways is under the Skyteam Membership. While Staralliance, is the strongest alliance in the continent, with Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways. Star Alliance is currently the largest rival to both Oneworld and Skyteam.
Qatar Airways CEO H.E. Akbar al-Baker who currently sits as chairman of the Oneworld Alliance was speaking at this week’s African Aviation Summit in Kigali, and was quoted as saying: “We will do everything within our ability to bring them to the standard to be ready to join as a full member or an associate member.”
“We saw this potential in the place that is right in the centre of Africa, and the relationship they have with the state of Qatar, I found that this is the right place This is about confidence and relationship, economic interest for both countries with each and this is what we are going to do
H.E Al-Baker has pushed in favour of Rwandair to join the alliance, stating that Qatar Airways and Rwandair have a strong pre-established relationship, one which he will clearly be keen to continue to expand, as well as give Oneworld an additional African-based airline, to help grow the alliances reach in the continent.
The current agreement between the two airlines means that passengers are able to match frequent flyer programmes of Qatar Airways and redeem and earn miles across all airlines that are under the Oneworld umbrella. This will see a huge array of benefits for members airlines and loyal Oneword members.
Important Step for RwandAir
RwandAir knowing that the possibilities of joining the alliance are rather high, they are doing its best to uplift its operational, business and customer standards. Oneworld’s Chairman stated: We will do everything within our ability to bring them to the standard to be ready to join as a full member or an associate member.”
The Rwandan flag carrier operations flight between Kigali and Heathrow after switching from Gatwick operations in 2020. Akbar al-Baker stated: “to benefit from important feeder traffic”.
We are seeing shifts in operations now and it looks like the airline is gearing up for a full membership application. Will Oneworld disrupt the standards of flying in Africa?