Silas Udahemuka, the Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, is now, possibly, the happiest man in town.
He earned his Christmas gift after impressing President Paul Kagame with the airport’s facelift.
Kagame told participants at the 12th National Dialogue yesterday that he is impressed by the new look.
“Our airport is very attractive,” he said. “You might think the first airport was moved and we installed a new one.”
With $17.8m, the airport has two more escalators, three lifts, an expanded VIP lounge, and arrival and departure lounges.
A second conveyor belt was also added, all in an appealing architectural designs.
Land side redesign added more pavement pathways and green spaces. The air side is greener and clear to the aircraft crew.
The airport has been ranked among the top ten best national airports in Africa this year.
Tonny Barigye, Public Relations Officer of Civil Aviation Authority said “Number of passengers is increasing drastically; it was urgent for us to improve both in space and service delivery.”
Barigye said until 2011, the airport was receiving just 300,000 passengers per annum. The number has doubled since 2012.
With renovation, the airport can now accommodate 1.5m passengers annually.
With the presence of international airlines such as Qatar Airlways, Turkish Airlines Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, and SN Brussels, the aviation authority was forced to upgrade its facility.
Since then, flight frequencies jumped from 60 to 400 weekly.
Meanwhile, expropriation for the $700m new airport in Bugesera, Eastern Rwanda has been completed.
Mind this year, President Kagame travelled to different countries across the world wooing investors into different projects including the Bugesera airport.
Finance Minister, Claver Gatete, said the country is negotiating concessional loans for the project.
The service sector, which includes the airline industry, contributed 47% to the GDP, according to the third quarter economy outlook.
By Jean de la Croix Tabaro.