RwandAir opened a major new African freight hub in collaboration with Qatar Airways Cargo

RwandAir has unveiled a significant new African cargo hub in collaboration with Qatar Airways Cargo. The CEO of RwandAir, Yvonne Makolo, expressed her pride in this partnership, which has led to the inauguration of the Kigali Cargo Hub. This new facility is expected to open up fresh cargo opportunities throughout Africa.

Makolo emphasized the diverse African economy, highlighting the demand for improved connections to foster new markets and attract more inward investment. The official opening of the expansive cargo facility was marked by the arrival of a Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777x freighter at RwandAir’s Kigali home hub.

The Kigali Cargo Hub aligns with RwandAir’s long-term cargo strategy, which has witnessed a significant 26% increase in cargo volume over the past five years. This initiative aims to position Kigali as a regional cargo powerhouse, boosting trade between Africa, both in terms of exports and imports, and establishing stronger ties with key international markets.

Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) provided consulting support to RwandAir Cargo to further enhance its already successful cargo handling operations. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer of Qatar Airways Cargo, joined Makolo and other senior officials in witnessing this milestone.

Halleux underscored Africa’s rapid economic growth and emphasized the need for investments in logistics and infrastructure to unlock its full potential. Given Qatar’s history of bilateral trade agreements and investments in Rwanda’s aviation infrastructure, it was a logical step for Qatar Airways Cargo to support RwandAir’s cargo ambitions. This collaboration aims to provide customers with a reliable intra-African network through the Kigali hub, along with improved service levels and cost efficiencies.

Halleux also expressed gratitude to Bolloré for their assistance in developing Kigali International Airport as Qatar Airways Cargo’s African hub. Bolloré’s substantial African presence is expected to contribute significantly to Qatar Airways Cargo’s freight operations in the region.

Cargo has always been integral to RwandAir’s operations, and its importance has grown, particularly in response to the recent pandemic. This strategic move underscores the airline’s commitment to meeting evolving cargo demands.

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Because of its geographical location in the heart of Africa, the airline is in a unique position to reach every corner of the continent, enabling seamless connectivity, promoting trade, and establishing ties with countries both within and outside of Africa.

RwandAir will continue to provide customers with dependable, high-quality cargo services across Africa with the opening of the new cargo hub.

It is bolstered by the introduction of its first dedicated freighter aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, which has enabled the start of additional freighter flights to the airline’s core destinations in Africa and the Middle East.

Johannesburg, Lagos, Lusaka, Brazzaville, Harare, Maputo, Entebbe, Nairobi, and Sharjah in the UAE are among them.

The recent arrival of RwandAir’s third wide-body aircraft, an Airbus A330-200, as well as the June commencement of direct flights to Paris, will ensure Rwanda has increased cargo connectivity not only regionally, but also internationally, spanning Europe, the Middle East, China, and beyond.

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777X will fly twice a week from Doha to Kigali, with scheduled onward service to Entebbe, Nairobi, and Liège, and then back to Doha via either Oslo/Lyon.

Since March 13, Qatar Airways Cargo has established intra-Africa services between Kigali and Lagos (three times per week), Kigali and Johannesburg (three times per week), and a weekly route from Istanbul to Kigali via Doha, all using a single wet-leased A310-200 freighter.

The inauguration of Qatar Airways Cargo’s first cargo hub outside of Qatar, in conjunction with RwandAir, lays a solid foundation for expanding a future-oriented African air cargo network and meeting the continent’s 3%-5% annual economic growth projected for the next decade.

More African destinations will be added to the combined airline network in the future.

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