Sharp increases in aircraft movements into and out of Kigali International Airport have prompted a comprehensive response by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, under which the airport falls. The lack of a separate taxiway, which would allow aircraft to taxi for takeoff or taxi to the apron off the main runway, has impacted more and more on the airport’s operation in recent months, especially as national carrier RwandAir now operates a fleet of 8 aircraft, due to increase by 50 percent in 2016.
The launch of long-haul operations to China, India, and Europe with 2 brand new Airbus A330 aircraft – RwandAir also expects the delivery of a further 2 brand new Boeing B737-800NGs – has made the construction of a taxiway a matter of the highest priority. Yesterday, ground was broken as construction went underway. Also part of the expansion of the present airport is a new apron section to provide additional parking spaces and a new air traffic control tower which will incorporate the latest technologies now available on the market.
Following the expansion and modernization of the terminal building over the past three years, Kigali is now broadly acknowledged as East Africa’s leading airport in terms of functionality and short ways. The growth in passenger numbers, largely attributed to the transit traffic brought in by RwandAir, to over 600,000 travelers last year, is an endorsement for the work done by the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA).
Information from Kigali suggests that the new taxiway will be ready during Q2 of 2016, ahead of the anticipated delivery of RwandAir’s first A330 in September next year.
Meanwhile, preparations are advancing for the construction of a new international airport outside Kigali at Bugesera, which is expected to cost in the region of US$650 million according to past estimates. Earlier in the year, the runway at Kamembe Airport in the south of Rwanda was expanded, following the national masterplan for enhanced aviation infrastructure for this landlocked country which depends on air transport to bring in visitors.