The oneworld alliance is becoming an increasingly popular choice for airlines in the Middle East and Africa. The latest airline to show an interesting is RwandAir, hot on the heels of Oman Air’s announcement that it would join oneworld in 2024 and Royal Air Maroc signing up.
The tie-up looks more likely to happen than not. RwandAir already has a partnership with Qatar Airways, and Qatars’ CEO Akbar Al Baker is currently Chairman of the oneworld alliance.
Both Al Baker and RwandAir CEO Yvonne Makolo gave public statements at the 6th African Aviation Summit in Kigali this week, with Al Baker 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 …. 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.”
“Joining Oneworld will help us gradually improve our products and services and what we are offering to our passengers.”
And in a media statement:
“We are 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.”
RwandAir is the only airline to operate direct flights from Heathrow to Kigali and uses a fleet of next-generation A330neo aircraft.
Although still a small airline with a limited route network, Rwanda’s location in Central Africa makes it a convenient spot to connect to other Central and Southern African cities.
If RwandAir is confirmed as a full oneworld member it would mean you could earn and redeem Avios on RwandAir flights, although this is nothing new.
You can already earn and redeem Avios on RwandAir – you don’t need to wait for possible oneworld membership. This is due to the existing partnership with Qatar Airways, which now uses Avios as its reward currency. You can learn more about using Avios on RwandAir in this article.
It remains to be seen whether it becomes a oneworld ‘connect’ member, which offers a more limited partnership, or a full member. ‘oneworld connect’ is the route Fiji Airways took when it joined the alliance.