African flag carrier Rwandair has confirmed it is exploring the possibility of joining the Oneworld alliance.
The move has been prompted by the airline’s strategic partnership with Oneworld member Qatar Airways which was launched last year, and which includes interline agreements and reciprocal loyalty scheme benefits.
In a statement provided to Business Traveller Yvonne Makolo, Rwandair’s CEO, said:
“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.”
Royal Air Maroc is currently Oneworld’s only African full member airline, having joined in April 2020.
Rival alliance Skyteam counts Kenya Airways as a member, while Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways are all members of Star Alliance.
Qatar Airways’ boss Akbar Al Baker is the current chairman of Oneworld, and speaking at this week’s African Aviation Summit in Kigali he is 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.”
Rwandair operate flights between Kigali and London Heathrow, having switched from Gatwick in 2020 “to benefit from important feeder traffic”.