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Dramatic growth at Kigali, nearly 500 000 passengers travelled through the airport in 2012



Currently, Kenya Airways is largest foreign airlines to serve Rwanda, in terms of flights frequencies. The airline provides 4 flights a day




According to the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority , in 2012, nearly 500 000 passengers travelled through Kigali Airport. There were 376 319 in 2011. About the number of flight, over 300 flights** are operated each week at Kigali, while in 2008, the airport handled about 60 flights a week.


Thanks to a robust economy and majors reforms voted in recent years (Rwanda is ranked 2nd in the world as a best reformers in the economic sector), Rwanda is attracting more and more foreign companies, but also more tourist. There is a huge demand from USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands but also Dubai, India, China and now Rwanda eyes new market such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea or Russia.


Since 2010, Air Uganda, KLM, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways started flights to Rwanda, while in the same time, South Africa, Airways resumed flights to Rwanda. Some airlines such as KLM, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways or Brussels Airlines have added flights to Kigali, to meet the demand.


Per exemple, this summer there will be 17  weekly flights between Rwanda and Europe. KLM will provide a daily service, while Brussels Airlines and Turkish Airlines will fly 5 times a week. During the summer 2008, there were only 4 flights a week.


But the key player at Kigali, is by the far, the national flag carrier. In deed, 5 years ago, the airline was near of the bankruptcy. After a major restructuring, RwandAir can be now considered as a relaible airline, despite the competition and some minors logistical problems.


RwandAir has spread its wing across Central, East and West Africa. The airline has also added new aircraft such as B737-800s or CRJ-900NGs . Old B737-500s will be replaced by B737-700s and the airline will add B787s by 2015.


However despite these good results, the airport is congested. The RwandAir’s CEO has said that this airport is a nightmare. 


 “When passengers double you would expect the revenues to double but that’s not the case. Our revenues have gone up but not on the same rate,” he said. He also added, “we are in a competitive business and have had to lower our fares to retain customers since they are a young airline”.




In 2011, the Governement of Rwanda decided to upgrade the Kigali Airport facilities, to meet the strong demand. Here are the mains upgrades :


  • The number of check in desk will be of 16 in 2013 (6 in 2008, 8 in 2012).
  • The arrival hall will be extended, with the adding of a baggage claim.
  • The former Lounge (CIP) was upgraded and NAS Aviation (Kuwait), is now the operator.
  • An Automated Passenger Clearance Passenger (APCP) launched in 2012, to accelerate passenger clearance and reduce queues on arrival at the airport.
  • A transit lounge mainly used by RwandAir will be opened .


 ** : Private, Military and Cargo flights are not included.

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