Qatar Airways is in talks to acquire a 49 percent stake in Africa’s RwandAir and is keen to invest in India’s low-cost carrier IndiGo when the time is right, the airline’s top executive said on Wednesday.
“We are negotiating for a 49 percent stake in the Kigali-based Rwandan flag carrier.
Rwanda is attractive because of its location, the stability of the country, and the very favourable business environment that exists there,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar al Baker said in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday.
The move comes months after Qatar Airways agreed in December last year to take a 60 percent stake in a new international airport in Rwanda.
“The airport is being built by our sovereign fund to take the capacity of 10 million passengers,” he said.
Al Baker said such an investment is based on the confidence the airline has in the country.
He mentioned Rwanda’s location in the African continent, political stability as well as the attractive business environment as some of the key aspects that are attracting the gulf carrier to make more investment into Rwanda.
“It will be a very efficient hub in a very stable country in the heart of Africa. We are going to take a stake in their national carrier because we see that Africa is another region that has huge growth potential,” he said.
“In Africa, there is a big demand for air travel and today Africa is very poorly connected, so we always look at opportunities in our field to do investments similar to what we have done in the past,” Baker said.
Baker also emphasised his interest in investing in IndiGo. “It is the only airline that we’re very keen to invest in India. Once the atmosphere exists that we could invest and be able to benefit from the synergies that these two airlines, Qatar Airways, and IndiGo, will provide,” he said.
“IndiGo is very efficiently run and very profitable. We are waiting for the right opportunity to make an approach,” he said.
Baker said the airline could be interested in increasing its holding in LATAM Airlines Group and working with fellow shareholder Delta Air Lines.
“When the right opportunity comes and at the right price we will look at increasing our investment in LATAM,” he said.
“Qatar Airways, which holds a 10 percent stake in the South American airline group would be interested in having a stake that is the same as Delta,” he said.
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