New airport for Rwanda under review


(eTN) – Plans for a new international airport outside Kigali in Bugesera, Rwanda, are being reviewed, with the latest studies revealing a staggering cost of at least US$600 million. This figure is likely to rise still further considering inflationary trends and cost increases along the way.

The Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon. Albert Nsengiyumva, conceded that this figure had prompted a fresh look at the plans and layout of the new planned airport, with the aim of reducing costs and making the new facility affordable.

While Rwanda is undergoing a massive transformation, with significant investments in the road, transport, communications, and power infrastructure, the country is also prudent enough to know that this has to be financed by internal tax revenues – external loans and grants, and “white elephant” projects have no place in this environment. Only yesterday, national airline, RwandAir, welcomed their first owned and brand new B737-800, towards which government is thought to have given guarantees.

The recent intense warming of relations with Turkey has apparently yielded options here for the Rwandan government, as they seem intent on engaging the consulting services of a Turkish group, which according to media reports could possibly deliver the project on time at a cost of about US$400 million.

Again, RwandAir has just signed an extensive cooperation agreement with Turkish Airlines, which resulted in codeshared operations covering the network of both airlines, technical cooperation, maintenance, and training support, underscoring Turkey’s keen interest to expand its sphere of influence into the African continent, aided by an aggressive rollout of new destinations by THY going hand in hand with diplomatic and trade initiatives.

According to a source in Kigali, decisions on the project’s future scope are expected to be taken before the end of 2011 to stay within the envisaged development time frame.