RwandAir, Qatar Airways Launches New African Cargo Hub.

  • The new cargo hub will boost exports and imports around Africa.

  • Kigali cargo hub will create a strong foundation to expand a future-oriented African air cargo network.

Through a partnership with Qatar Airways Cargo, RwandAir has launched the Kigali Cargo Hub, a new major African cargo hub. It is part of a long-term strategic plan for the cargo division of RwandAir, which has seen cargo carry rise by almost 26% in the last five years.

The official launch of the new cargo facility was marked with the arrival of a Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777x freighter at the airline’s home hub in Kigali. The initiative will boost exports and imports around Africa and strengthens links with key overseas markets, developing Kigali into a regional cargo powerhouse. 

The airline’s geographic location at the heart of Africa has given it a unique position to reach every part of Africa, providing seamless connectivity, promoting trade, and strengthening its relations with countries both in the continent and around the world.

Cargo operations have been an integral component of RwandAir, it has grown in conjunction with the airline. The pandemic also created an importance of cargo, particularly for the airline. RwandAir will continue to offer customers reliable, high-quality cargo services across Africa due to the launch of the new cargo hub. 

Those who were present to witness the aircraft land include the CEO of RwandAir, Yvonne Makolo, Qatar Airways Cargo’s Chief Officer, Guillaume Halleux, along with local dignitaries, freight forwarders, partners, and customers. “We are very proud to partner with Qatar Airways Cargo to launch today the brand-new Kigali Cargo Hub, which will open up new cargo opportunities across Africa”, Yvonne Makolo remarked.

She added that “Africa is home to a hugely diverse economy, with businesses and entrepreneurs looking for better connections to create new markets and expand inward investment, noting that together have created a fantastic new facility to meet this growing demand across Africa”.

With the launch of the new cargo hub, new freighter services to RwandAir’s key destinations across Africa and the Middle East have been facilitated and supported by the entry into service of its dedicated freighter aircraft – a Boeing 737 and 800. These destinations include Johannesburg, Lagos, Lusaka, Brazzaville, Harare, Maputo, Entebbe, Nairobi, and Sharjah in the UAE.

According to Qatar Airways Cargo’s Chief Officer, Guillaume Halleux, Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, however, it needs investment in logistics and infrastructures to attain its full potential. He noted that with the long bilateral trade relationship between both countries, it was a logical step for Qatar Airways Cargo to support RwandAir’s cargo ambitions.

Halleux added that through the Kigali hub, customers will benefits from both a reliable intra-African network which will enhance service levels and cost synergies. He also appreciated Bollore who supported in developing Kigali International Airport as Qatar Airways Cargos’s African hub.

RwandAir’s recent announcement of the launch of direct flights to Paris in June and the arrival of its wide-body aircraft – Airbus A330-200 will ensure that Rwanda has greater cargo connectivity not just regionally but internationally across Europe, the Middle East, China, and beyond.

The Qatar Airways Boeing 777x will fly twice a week from Doha to Kigali with a scheduled onward service to Entebbe, Nairobi, and Liege afterward back to Doha via Oslo/Lyon. More destinations in Africa will be added to the joint airline network at a later stage.

The cargo hub will also create a strong foundation on which to expand a future-oriented African air cargo network and meet the 3-5% annual economic growth forecast for the continent over the next decade.

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