Kamembe airport reopens to flights

Kamembe International Airport in the Western Province has resumed business with a brand new runway, nearly after six months of works, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) has said.
The refurbished runway at Kamembe International Airport. (Peterson Tumwebaze)
The refurbished runway at Kamembe International Airport. (Peterson Tumwebaze)

Kamembe International Airport in the Western Province has resumed business with a brand new runway, nearly after six months of works, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) has said.

The airport was closed down earlier this year to allow for rehabilitation and upgrade of its 1.5-kilometre runway to accommodate big aircraft, as well as help decongest the facility. 

Rehabilitated at a cost of about Rwf5.1 billion, airport authorities said the new facility will see its traffic double and boost the country’s tourism sector.

“On annual basis we are talking about traffic of close to 30,000 passengers; however, now that the airport has been upgraded, we expect this number to increase but also we can now guarantee the safety of passengers,” Tony Barigye, the RCAA, communication manager, said.

He added that the airport will play a crucial role in promoting trade between Rwanda and DR Congo.

“Among the reasons for expanding the capacity of the airport is to facilitate tourism, which is one of the main income earners for the country by making upcountry tourist sites easily accessible,” Barigye said.

“Also, as a landlocked country with ever growing economy, it is only right that we invest in improving the quality of our airports.”

Barigye revealed that they have already communicated to all airlines about the new status of the airport.

RwandAir deploys Q400

Meanwhile, flights to Kamembe by RwandAir are set to resume on Monday.

The flights will be operated by a dual class Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft from Monday to Saturday, which will be departing at 1:20pm from Kigali International Airport and returning 3pm.

The new refurbished runway, according to airline authorities, will enable smooth and efficient operations.

The government contracted China Road and Bridge Corporation Company to undertake the project. The works involved resurfacing the runway, upgrading the taxiway, apron and airfield marking to make the airport secure and attractive.

The supervisory part of the project was done by STUDI, a Tunisian company in partnership with Gasabo 3D Limited at a cost of about $495,000 (about Rwf349 billion), according to RCAA.

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