RwandAir (WB, Kigali) is keen to join Oneworld as an expansion of its already close partnership with Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l), a core member of the global airline alliance, says Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Makolo.

"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," Makolo said in a statement to Simple Flying. "Joining Oneworld will help us gradually improve our products and services and what we are offering to our passengers."

Makolo was reacting to comments by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker at Aviation Africa 2022 in Kigali on September 12-13 that his airline would be assisting RwandAir to achieve the necessary standards to join Oneworld, either as a full member or associate. "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," he said. Al Baker is the current chairman of Oneworld.

Currently, Royal Air Maroc (AT, Casablanca Int'l) is the only African airline with full membership of Oneworld, leaving the alliance lacking a Sub-Saharan African hub.

"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," Al Baker said.

He said the two airlines planned to establish a training institution for pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, equipment operators, and engineers in Rwanda, based on a similar facility in Qatar. "We have a training school in Qatar with advanced facilities, and that will be expanded here to make it a centre of excellence for aviation in Africa," he said.