Qatar Airways opens first cargo hub outside its homeland – in Africa

19th May 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Qatar Airways Cargo, a business of major Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways, has formally inaugurated its first cargo hub outside its home country, at Kigali International Airport, in Rwanda.

The formality was marked by the arrival at Kigali of a Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777F dedicated freighter aircraft.

Qatar Airways Cargo already operates intra-African cargo flights, between Kigali and Lagos, three times a week. It also already operates a once-a-week service from Istanbul, Turkey, via Doha, to Kigali. Both these services are operated with an Airbus A310. The new Doha-Kigali service, using the 777F, will operate twice a week. The carrier said that new routes from Kigali will soon be announced.

The new cargo hub has been created in cooperation with Rwanda’s national flag carrier, RwandAir. Qatar Airways is helping RwandAir strengthen and expand its own air cargo business.

“Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, yet for it to develop to its full potential requires logistics infrastructures,” highlighted Qatar Airways chief officer: cargo Guillaume Halleux. “Qatar and Rwanda have long enjoyed bilateral trade agreements, with both Qatar Airways and the 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.”

In preparation for the launch of the Kigali hub, Qatar Airways’ subsidiary company QAS Cargo provided consultancy services to RwandAir Cargo, to assist the latter improve its performance in handling cargo. QAS Cargo specialists visited Kigali and developed a detailed operational improvement and handling performance action plan for RwandAir. The Qatar team is currently working on a roadmap for future developments, including improving RwandAir’s warehouse infrastructure. These developments will be an element of RwandAir’s long-term strategic cargo plan.

Qatar Airways Cargo expects Africa to register economic growth of from 3% to 5% a year over the next decade. The carrier already serves 28 destinations across the continent, using both dedicated freighters and the belly-holds of its parent’s airliners. Qatar Airways Cargo’s dedicated freighter fleet is composed of two Boeing 747-8F, two 747-400F, 26 Boeing 777F and one Airbus A310 aircraft.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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