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Up By 60%: Inside Qatar Airways’ Fast Growing Africa Development


  • Qatar Airways’ Q3 seats to Africa have increased by 60% versus 2019
  • Africa is the airline’s fastest-growing continent
  • Qatar Airways has passenger flights to 29 destinations in Africa this quarter, but Windhoek ends in November

For airlines in the Northern Hemisphere, quarter three (July to September) is crucial as it is when they make most of their money (if any). Analysis of schedule data shows that while Qatar Airways‘ Q3 overall seats for sale have risen by 5% versus 2019, its previous best quarter, its Africa capacity has jumped by 60%.

Qatar Airways to Africa: Q3

According to OAG, the oneworld member has 790,000 departing seats from its Doha hub to Africa (double for both ways), a continent where a mixed fleet, freight, and partners are crucial. Seats have risen by a considerable 297,000 versus 2019 (+60%) and 22,000 (+3%) over its last record held in 2022.

Qatar Airways to Africa

Source of data: Cirium. Figure: James Pearson.

Africa is Qatar Airways’ fastest-growing continent/region, although North America (+53%) and the Middle East (+47%) are not far behind on a percentage basis. However, due to the end of the Qatar blockade, the carrier has added more intra-Middle East departing seats (+383,000) than anywhere else, helping that region to become the world’s fastest-growing.

29 African destinations this July-September

Qatar Airways has passenger flights to 29 destinations this quarter, with one-stop routes important. While Africa seats have risen, its network has reduced by one year-on-year. This is because Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, cannot be served due to that country’s conflict and the inability of airlines to serve or even overfly it.

Qatar Airways Africa network Q3 2023

(Q3 2023 network.) Image: OAG.

In the past few years, multiple places have been added, including Abidjan (2021), Accra (2020), Abuja (2020), Harare (2021), Kano (2022), Luanda (2020), and Port Harcourt (2022).

Due to the end of the blockade with Egypt, Cairo and Alexandria returned in 2021. They were joined by the Namibian capital Windhoek in 2022 and Marrakech – the large and tourist-driven Moroccan city – in June 2023.

What about Kinshasa and Juba?

Qatar Airways had previously announced Kinshasa and Juba in 2023, but neither opened for sale. It is unclear if they have been postponed or entirely cut. Multiple international carriers continue to serve South Sudan’s Juba, including flydubai.

Had Kinshasa – one of Africa’s biggest cities with 17 million people in the metro – materialized, Qatar Airways would have gained a head start over Emirates, which is likely to launch when its A350s and 787s start to arrive. Dubai-Kinshasa previously saw flydubai.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787

Photo: KeleX Pictures | Shutterstock.

Windhoek ends in November

Despite only rejoining Qatar Airways’ network in June 2022, having first been served in September 2016, Windhoek will see its last flight by the carrier on November 21st. The 4,003-mile (6,442 km) route runs three weekly using the Boeing 787-8, with passengers bound for Germany, France, and China critical.

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The exit could pave the way for Air France or Turkish Airlines to Windhoek. However, OAG/Cirium shows that Qatar Airways has scheduled flights to return in April 2024, suggesting it may become Northern Hemisphere summer seasonal. This is not (yet?) shown on the airline’s website.

Where else would you like the airline to fly in Africa? Let us know in the comments.

Sources of information: OAG, Cirium, Google Flights.


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