NEW AIRPORT UNDER REVIEW
Plans for the new international airport outside Kigali in Bugesera are being reviewed, as the latest studies reveal a staggering cost of at least 600 million US Dollars, likely to rise still further considering inflationary trends and cost increases along the way.
The Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure the Hon. Albert Nsengiyumva did concede that this figure had prompted a fresh look at the plans and layout of the new planned airport with the aim of reducing cost and making the new facility affordable.
While Rwanda is undergoing a massive transformation, with significant investments in the road, transport, communications and power infrastructure – only yesterday did national airline RwandAir welcome their first owned and brand new B737-800 towards which government is thought to have given guarantees – 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.
The recent intense warming of relations with Turkey has apparently yielded options here for the Rwandan government as they seem intent to engage the consulting services of a Turkish group, which according to media reports could possibly deliver the project on time at a cost of about 400 million US Dollars.
Again, RwandAir has just signed an extensive cooperation agreement with Turkish Airlines, which resulted in code shared 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.
Decisions, according to a source in Kigali, on the project’s future scope are expected to be taken before the end of 2011 to stay within the envisaged development time frame. Watch this space.