in Features / Airports

Qatari boost for Rwanda’s new airport

Posted 27 August 2020 · Add Comment

The future of Rwanda’s new international airport has been given a significant boost by the involvement of Qatar Airways.

When Bugesera International Airport opens for business in 2022, it will be backed by one of the world’s most successful airlines. Alan Dron reports.

In December 2019, Qatar Airways signed a deal to take a 60% stake in the new airport, now under construction around 35km south-east of the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Under three agreements, a partnership between the Rwandan Government and Qatar Airways will build, own and operate the new airport.

With the new airport project costing around $1.3 billion, Qatar Airways’ 60% stake is effectively an investment of $780 million in the central African nation.

Previously, Portugal’s Mota-Engil held an 85% stake in the facility. The Rwandan Government then bought this from the Portuguese construction company, giving it 100% ownership. It then signed the agreement with Qatar during a state visit by the Arabian Gulf state’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Mota-Engil remains the contractor for the project.

Qatar is taking a strong interest in the small central African nation; in February this year, Qatar Airways’ Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, announced that the Gulf carrier was in negotiations to buy 49% of RwandAir, the national carrier.

“In very general terms, to go into a venture with a world-class airline like Qatar Airways [brings] a lot of benefits, as you can imagine,” RwandAir CEO, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, said. Capacity-building and staff training were just two potential plusses from the proposed partnership, she added.

Speaking at the CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha, Al Baker said that Qatar Airways was attracted to Rwanda by several factors, including its strategic location and its business-friendly environment.

Al Baker visited Kigali for the 2019 Aviation Africa Summit and talked there about opportunities for the two nations to work together.
The new airport is necessary as the existing Kigali International Airport is located in a densely developed district of the city, just 10km from the central business district, and is unable to expand.

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, it had also become steadily busier, with the number of passengers around the 1 million per year mark and a compound growth rate of 10.6% over the past four years.

Kigali International is the country’s main airport, but it is also of regional importance as it serves Congolese, Burundian and Ugandan cities.

The existing airport was operating at around full capacity, said Makolo. Recent expansion had taken place, partly to cope with the planned British Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June, and partly to cater for RwandAir’s growing operations, “but there’s only so much it can expand”.

A decision to create a new airport on a greenfield site was made in 2010, although construction only got under way in July 2017.
As initially planned, the new airport was designed to have an initial annual capacity of 1.7 million passengers, expandable to 4.5 million once all the infrastructure had been completed.

However, work was slowed in July 2019 due to the need to redesign the airport to accommodate the country’s new aviation strategy, which forecasts a higher growth rate than previously anticipated.

The new airport will provide a massive expansion of capability, said Jules Ndenga, interim CEO of Aviation Travel & Logistics Company, the Rwandan Government’s aviation arm that manages activities including travel, logistics, ground, freight and cargo handling, plus charter services.

“The first phase of the airport is designed to accommodate seven million passengers per year over 10 years, after starting operations in 2022. The second phase expansion would be implemented to host 14 million passengers per year for the subsequent 10 years.”

The new airport will have a single runway, but with the option of a second being added at a later date if traffic required it.

 


 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Rolls-Royce to develop aviation energy storage technology

Rolls-Royce is entering new aviation markets to pioneer sustainable power and as part of that mission we will be developing energy storage systems (ESS) that will enable aircraft to undertake zero emissions flights of over 100 miles on a

Swissport announces new regional manager for Middle East and Africa

As part of a new commercial structure, Swissport has redesigned its market setup and appointed new regional managers across Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

Havelsan partakes in Shield Africa event

Turkey’s Havelsan participated in the Shield Africa event, which was held on 8-11 June in the Ivory Coast to showcase its Land, Naval and Air solutions for the defence and security of the African continent.

Paramount Group Technical Aviation Academy opens in Pretoria

Paramount Aerospace Systems, subsidiary to aerospace and technology company Paramount Group, has announced that its Technical Aviation Academy has strategically re-located to Wonderboom National Airport, adjacent to the

NAS awarded Airport Lounge Tender for New Terminal in Zambia

National Aviation Services and NAC2000 Corporation have been awarded a tender to operate an airport lounge in the new terminal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka, Zambia.

Bullish airlines buck the global trend

Two start-up airlines are taking to the skies and several incumbents – including Air Peace, Azman Air and Dana Air – are growing their fleets.

WDS SK2601090322
See us at
WDS BT1202090322Aviation MENA 2022Aviation Africa 2021 BTOCDAS21_BT