In a candid interview with ThisDay, Hendrik du Preez, Vice-President for Africa at Qatar Airways, addressed rumors surrounding the airline’s potential exit from Nigeria. Du Preez acknowledged the significant challenges posed by the high cost of doing business in Africa and Nigeria, shedding light on the complexities faced by airlines in the region.
This revelation comes in the wake of reports from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), confirming that foreign airlines, including British Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, might consider leaving Nigeria due to trapped ticket revenues in the country and other nations.
Du Preez emphasized the hurdles encountered in Nigeria, particularly concerning purchasing power limitations stemming from elevated inflation rates in various African countries. Despite these obstacles, he highlighted the airline’s commitment to implementing strategies to enhance capacity, demonstrating resilience in the face of adversities.
The Vice President acknowledged the impact of currency devaluation on countries like Nigeria and Egypt. However, he underscored Qatar Airways’ ability to navigate these challenges by maintaining adaptability. The airline, he noted, has learned to adjust its capacity based on changing demands in the dynamic aviation landscape.
Contrary to rumors of a potential exit, Du Preez affirmed the airline’s long-term perspective and commitment to Nigeria. He highlighted Nigeria as one of Africa’s most populous countries, offering vast opportunities for expansion. Qatar Airways has invested significantly in Nigeria over the past few years, strategically increasing its presence by expanding flights to Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt.
“We have made massive investments in Nigeria over the last few years, and even with the current challenge of inflation the country is constantly facing, we believe that it will still pay off in the coming future,” Du Preez stated.
He further emphasized the airline’s commitment to Nigeria, recognizing it as the most connected market in Africa. Qatar Airways sees the country as a pivotal player in the region and remains optimistic about the future, viewing the current challenges as part of a broader long-term strategy.
In a dynamic aviation sector, Qatar Airways aims to continue contributing to Nigeria’s connectivity, acknowledging the country’s resilience and potential for growth. As discussions on the aviation landscape unfold, the airline’s commitment to Nigeria remains unwavering, showcasing a strategic and resilient approach in navigating the complexities of the industry.