How RwandAir’s Oneworld membership could open up African travel

The African airline could help Qantas frequent flyers tap new travel opportunities.

By Staff Writers, October 5 2022
How RwandAir’s Oneworld membership could open up African travel

RwandAir could become the next member of the Oneworld alliance with the support of its strategic partner Qatar Airways.

The carrier, based in Rwandan capital of Kigali, would bring a network of 29 destinations across 20 countries to the group, primarily in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

“As we continue to expand our partnership with Qatar Airways, we are always looking for ways to improve our customer offering and global reach” says RwandAir CEO Yvonne Makolo.

“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,” she added.

“Joining Oneworld will help us gradually improve our products and services and what we are offering to our passengers.”

Qatar Airways CEO and Oneworld chairman Akbar Al Baker voiced his support for RwandAir, 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.”

RwandAir’s A330 business class.
RwandAir’s A330 business class.

RwandAir’s Oneworld membership would significantly expand the alliance’s reach in Africa, with Royal Air Maroc being its only other member from the continent.

Outside of Africa, the airline maintains flights to London, Brussels, Doha, Dubai and Mumbai.

The African carrier would follow Alaska Airlines and Oman Air in swelling the Oneworld ranks, with Al Baker keen to see more airlines brought into the Oneworld family, along with a drive to increase Oneworld's profile and branding, as part of he termed an “aggressive” push for the alliance.

RwandAir and Qantas Frequent Flyers

Once RwandAir becomes part of the alliance, Qantas travellers will have more options to connect onto the African carrier’s network, including transfers via Johannesburg.

RwandAir’s Dream Miles loyalty program has three tiers – Silver, Gold and Diamond – which are likely to line up with Qantas Silver, Gold and Platinum, and more broadly Oneworld’s Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald.

RwandAir’s A330 business class.
RwandAir’s A330 business class.

Premium passengers and status holders can enjoy access to RwandAir’s dedicated Dream Lounge in Kigali, as well as the airport-operated Pearl Lounge, with an arrivals lounge for incoming travellers also available.

Under a current partnership with Qatar Airways, RwandAir Dream Miles and Qatar Airways Privilege Club members already enjoy access to each other’s destinations with the opportunity to earn and burn points across their reciprocal route networks.

The RwandAir fleet

RwandAir’s fleet includes two Airbus A330s and six Boeing 737s, all of which feature a dedicated business class cabin.

RwandAir’s A330 business class.
RwandAir’s A330 business class.

Passengers flying in the pointy end of the A330 will enjoy flatbed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, followed by 21 premium economy recliners in a 2-3-2 layout , which is certainly a more comfortable offering compared to economy’s 2-4-2 configuration.

Every seat is fitted with personal entertainment screens and there’s also Wi-Fi on tap.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Sep 2017

Total posts 18

This would be a great addition for Oneworld to expand in southern and eastern Africa, and quite likely to happen given QR's heavy  investment in the airline.

It looks like South America is the final piece of the puzzle. LATAM is off the table with its new Delta JV. Perhaps, GOL (given its an AA partner) or Azul in Brazil are possible options.

Qantas has a strategic codeshare arrangement with Indigo now, and Jet Airways (former QF partner) is relaunching so maybe an Indian carrier could be on the cards. 

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 152

8 aircraft, only two of them long-haul,  is a bit light on to be in OW I'd have thought.  Good on them though if they can expand under the guidance of QR.

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