* 'We strongly believe in Africa’s aviation potential, and we are ready to offer a solid and long-term partnership,' says Akbar al-Baker
Qatar Airways group chief executive, HE Akbar al-Baker has highlighted the need for a global repositioning of Africa’s aviation industry as well as the changing political approach to aviation in the region at the Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition, now taking place at Kigali, Rwanda.
Speaking to an audience that included the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame as well as senior ministers, aviation industry executives and guests of honour, al-Baker addressed the need for liberalisation of aviation regulations in Africa to bring improved connectivity to travellers, as well as significant benefits in trade, tourism and employment.
Al-Baker noted that although Africa makes up 16% of the world’s population, it only captures approximately 3.1% of the world’s air travellers.
Al-Baker said, “Now is the time to reconsider how Africa’s aviation market is positioned in order to maximise its full potential. Governments should leave behind protectionist approaches to regulating aviation and embrace liberalisation, because when such policies are adopted, countries benefit from improved connectivity and a positive impact on trade, tourism and employment.
“Qatar Airways’ vision is about freedom, collaboration and long-term sustainable investments in African infrastructure, human capital, and capacity-building. We strongly believe in Africa’s aviation potential, and we are ready to offer a solid and long-term partnership.”
The two-day Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition brings together senior airline executives, civil aviation authority members and key aviation leaders to discuss the challenges facing the industry in Africa and the future development plans for the market.
Qatar Airways operates a Boeing B787 Dreamliner to Kigali, which features 22 business class seats and 232 seats in economy.
The airline operates a daily flight between Doha and Kigali via Entebbe, with the return flight from Kigali to Doha non-stop.
Last December, Qatar Airways became the only Gulf airline to provide direct flights to Mombasa, Kenya, the airline’s second gateway into the country. The launch of this new service is part of the airline’s continued expansion plans in Africa, and a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to the region.
Qatar Airways now serves 21 destinations in 15 African countries; in addition, Qatar Airways Cargo provides freighter services to seven countries.
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