Qatar Airways poaches ex-KQ executive to lead Africa growth


A man walks past a Qatar Airways branch in the Middle East. AFP PHOTO

Qatar Airways has hired an ex-Kenya Airways (KQ) #ticker:KQ executive to lead its growth strategy in Africa as head of marketing.

Julius Mburu is expected to spearhead the airline’s marketing strategy and increase its slice of the continent’s aviation market.

Mr Mburu was KQ regional marketing manager for Kenya and southern Africa region. He joins the airline at a time when the mid-East carrier is in the process of growing its footprint across the continent.

The state-owned flag carrier of Qatar is scheduled to launch direct Doha-Mombasa flights in December.

The airline will operate four flights a week on the route in a move expected to boost the number of tourist arrivals at the Coast.

Last month, senior Qatar government officials said all is set for the December 9, Doha-Mombasa flights.

Qatar’s entrance to the market is expected to pile pressure on Kenya Airways, which until recently dominated the international transfers between Nairobi and Mombasa.

The entry of Qatar Airways is also a threat to Kenya Airways business model since the national carrier (KQ) has to pass through its Nairobi hub before proceeding to Mombasa.

Mr Mburu is a chartered marketer and holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi. He is a seasoned aviation expert having worked at Kenya Airways for 15 years.

Middle East airlines such as Qatar, Etihad and Emirates have recently raided local aviation talent pool including pilots, engineers and business managers to boost their regional presence.