Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad International) has inaugurated its African cargo hub at Kigali airport, operated jointly with RwandAir (WB, Kigali).

"Qatar and Rwanda have long-enjoyed bilateral trade agreements, with both Qatar Airways and Qatar Investment Authority having previously invested in Kigali International Airport and RwandAir. It was therefore a logical step that Qatar Airways Cargo supports RwandAir in its cargo ambitions. Our customers will benefit from both a reliable intra-African network through our Kigali hub, as well as enhanced service levels and cost synergies," Chief Cargo Officer Guillaume Halleux said.

Qatar Airways will operate 2x weekly services connecting Kigali with its main base at Doha Hamad International airport, using B777-200F freighters. It already operates a 3x weekly Kigali-Lagos service, as well as a weekly Istanbul Airport-Doha-Kigali route using an A310-300(F) wet-leased from ULS Airlines Cargo (GO, Istanbul Airport). It plans to add more cargo destinations from Kigali soon. Qatar Airways does not operate passenger services to Kigali, although RwandAir flies to Doha 3x weekly using B737-800s, the ch-aviation schedules module shows.

The Rwandan flag carrier added its first dedicated freighter, a B737-800(SF), in late 2022.

Qatar Airways Group has been in talks for a 49% stake in state-owned RwandAir since 2020. In March 2023, RwandAir Chief Executive Yvonne Makolo said the talks were at "a tail-end" and likely to be concluded soon. The Qatari holding is also planning to become the majority shareholder in the new Bugesera International Airport, which is under construction.