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Rwanda is Constructing a New $2 Billion Airport in Kigali

Rwanda is Constructing a New $2 Billion Airport in Kigali

BY GEORGE MWANGI 05/12/2023 AGO 0 COMMENTS

Rwanda has started construction on a USD $2 billion airport near the country's capital of Kigali with a projected completion date of 2026. The airport will have a 130,000-square-meter terminal building with a separate cargo terminal. The terminals are expected to accommodate up to 8 million passengers and 150,000 tons of cargo annually.

 



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Photo: AeroXplorer | Lucas Wu


Although Kigali already has an airport that can accommodate millions of passengers, the existing Kigali International Airport (KGL) has issues that could prevent it from handling more traffic in the future.

 

Firstly, it would be extremely challenging to expand KGL since the airport is surrounded by buildings. The airport, which is one of the world's highest airports at 1,491 meters above sea level, additionally sits at the top of a hill.




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KGL will continue to operate for certain types of flights and pilot training.

 

Jules Ndenga of Aviation Travel and Logistics Holding said, "We are really impassioned to see the efforts completed and starting operations. The main objective of this effort is basically to make sure that Rwanda becomes an African hub where everyone will be transiting either for tourism, but also for business and different industries."

 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Ethan Sewell


The new airport will be 60% owned by Qatar Airways, which will obtain 49% of shares in Rwanda's main airline RwandAir. Rwanda believes that a new airport will help the country establish itself as a tourist destination in Africa.

 



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Over the past three decades, Rwanda has transformed from a country that was suffering from genocide to one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. Some people have even called Rwanda "The Singapore of Africa" because of its increasing focus on technological innovation and international trade.

 

Although Rwanda's economy is rapidly growing, the country is still not yet at the level of its neighbors in Africa. As of 2022, Kigali International Airport does not appear among Africa's busiest airports while Rwanda itself has the continent's 34th largest economy. The new airport is expected to play a role in Rwanda's future economic development.
 

Photo: AeroXplorer | Sebastien Gigot


The new airport is expected to benefit not only Rwanda but also the aviation industry across the continent. Even though 16.75% of the world's population currently lives in Africa, less than 4% of the global aviation market is on the continent as of 2018.

 



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The main reasons why aviation has not yet reached its potential in Africa are geography, a lack of direct routes between countries, and the high costs of flight operations. Improving airport infrastructure in countries that could become the future is one way to expand the continent's aviation market.

George Mwangi
Aviation writer based in Washington, DC. Visited 21 countries on thousands of miles of flights.

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