By Favour Nnabugwu
Qatar Airways is continuing its expansion in Africa with a new route launching to Lusaka, Zambia and Harare, Zimbabwe on August 6th.
The flag carrier of Qatar is excited to connect passengers to the two cities while meeting increasing cargo demand with the move.
The airline’s widebodies will be flying on what will become the firm’s fifth and sixth new African destinations launched since the beginning of the global health crisis. Amid this launch, Qatar Airways is set to transport plenty of goods with a total of 30 tonnes of cargo capacity per service. This operation will form part of a wider shipping network between worldwide center points in the likes of the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and the United States
Qatar Airways Group CEO, Al Baker took a moment to share how valuable routes in Africa are to his company. Overall. The airline has been expanding well across the continent, now conducting over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations here.
“Africa continues to be an area of strong growth for Qatar Airways and launching this service will support the development of the economy and tourism sector in both countries,” Al Baker shared in a statement.
“Not only do we continue to rebuild our network after the pandemic, but we are actively expanding it with the addition of these two key destinations. These are the fifth and sixth new destinations in Africa added to our network since the start of the pandemic, taking our total new destinations added across the globe to 10.”
Qatar Airways 787-8
Qatar Airways has been determined to keep flight activity going despite the challenges of the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images
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The thrice-weekly flights will operate each Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Flight QR1455 will leave Doha at 02:20 to land in Lusaka at 08:50. The 787 will then depart the capital of Zambia at 10:20 to arrive at neighboring Harare at 11:20.
QR1456 will depart from the capital of Zimbabwe at 18:55 to land in Lusaka at 19:55. The jet will then leave Zambia at 21:25 to arrive back in Qatar at 05:55 the next day. All times are local.
Qatar Airways 787-8
The likes of Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenya Airways all have fifth freedom rights on Lusaka to Harare routes – perhaps Qatar Airways could join with this approach. Photo: Getty Images
This announcement follows the Emirates’ update that it will be resuming flights to South Africa and Nigeria this Wednesday. Africa is undoubtedly an important area of business for Middle Eastern carriers, and they have long been in the race to increase operations in the continent.
All eyes on Africa
Qatar Airways sees massive potential in the African aviation scene. Abuja, Accra, and Luanda were all added to the carrier’s network last year, while Abidjan joined last week. Even closer to home, flights to Cairo and Alexandria have returned, following the easing of tensions between Qatar and Egypt.
Zimbabwe, Somaliland, South Sudan, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are all countries on the airline’s radar, with the company presently partnering well with the likes of Air Côte d’Ivoire to reach corners that it doesn’t currently serve. Altogether, the operator is keen to scale up partnerships while increasing its own presence across the land.
Three of the top ten-non African airlines flying to sub-Saharan Africa are from the Middle East. Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines hold over 11 million round-trip seats between them this year
Notably, there are promising recovery prospects for African aviation. Nearly 60% of the continent’s population hasn’t reached the age of 25 yet, and the number of people is expected to double by around 2050.
Moreover, several groups are part of a growing middle class that has been well-tuned to global trade and trends. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that Qatar Airways is eager to grow in Africa. Not only are there plenty of tourism opportunities, but there are also grand prospects when it comes to long-term commerce.