Rwanda’s ambitious goal of becoming a regional hub has been amplified by a confirmation that the country’s new state-of-the-art airport to be located in Bugesera will be ready almost four years from now.
Linda Bihire, Minister of Infrastructure told The New Times that work on the design of the multi million dollar project is almost 60 percent complete and entire project could cost Rwanda a whooping $300 million.
But government wants the construction bill to be footed through a public-private partnership, inviting investors to take up ownership in the ambitious project.
The initial project will be complete in 2013 and will have a capacity of handling one million passengers annually and 15 million tonnes of cargo.
The architectural design provides room for expansion into new terminals as demand arises in future. Sounding confident, Bihire said construction work will kick off mid next year lasting three years.
“It is designed, in that first phase, to be able to carry 15 million tonnes of cargo per year. The (present) one can’t even do half of that,” Bihire was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Being a landlocked country, Rwanda hopes the new airport will help establish direct flights to Europe and other busy business destinations in hope of attracting more trade to the country.
A second phase for expansion is expected in 2025 to empower the airport with another runway, according to Bihire.
“We are currently under capacity. It is aimed at fast-tracking development in the country and to make Rwanda a logistics hub,” Bihire quoted by the Reuters.
The minister said government was in talks with several airlines like British Airways, Qatar, Emirates and Virgin Airways, on the possibility of direct flights to Britain or via Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta airport.
Currently some of the airlines that operate in Rwanda include the country’s Rwandair Express, Kenya Airways, SN Brussels and South Africa Airways among others.