Government plans to spend US$ 9,560,764 (approx. Rwf 5.4billion) on upgrading Kigali International Airport.
The amount was revealed yesterday by Infrastructure Minister, Linda Bihire, during an exclusive interview with The New Times, in which she explained that the move to upgrade the airport was aimed at boosting the country’s airline business.
“The Ministry of Infrastructure recognizes that the airport is one of the main gateways to the country and portrays the image of the country. This is why we are planning to standardise it and increase its capacity,” said Bihire.
The current airport doesn’t meet standard requirements for an international airport, since it has a small terminal operating space and has no facilities for people with special needs, and also has no elevators.
According to Bihire, detailed studies on how to improve the airport have been finalized.
During the planning phase, five options were tabled including; the modification within the existing structure, an extension option, linked extension option for departure, linked extension option for arrivals and a stand-alone option for departure.
“We chose the second option which involves extension as it addressed most of the current deficiencies, creates the least disruptions and could be constructed in a shorter time at a lower cost than all other option,” Bihire said.
She added that when the airport is upgraded, it would increase the capacity of the business it accommodates and that the projected number of passengers will increase which implies that airport revenues will definitely have to increase as well.
Upgrading the Kanombe-based airport comes at a time when studies are underway to construct a state-of-the-art airport, Bugesera International Airport that will be located in the Eastern Province.