Rwanda will build a new international airport at a cost of $818 million. The east African nation has signed a deal with Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil to build the airport at Bugesera.
Rwanda’s plans for the new Bugesera International Airport date back to 2011 when it first announced it was seeking bids from the private sector to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the airport through a 25-year concession. The first phase of the airport, which is part of a push to attract more tourists and boost Rwanda as a conference destination, would cost $418 million and is expected to start in June 2017 and be completed by December 2018.
The coffee and tea producing country expects its economy to grow 6 percent this year and 2017 and then 6.5 percent in 2018.
“The first phase is for 1.7 million passengers (per year) capacity and it gets all infrastructure associated for $418 million,” Mota-Engil Africa Chief Executive Officer Manuel Antonio Mota told reporters late on Thursday after signing an agreement with government officials.
Mota-Engil would operate the airport for 25 years, with an option to extend another 15 years.
The first phase would involve building passenger and cargo terminals and a 4.2 km runway to handle large commercial airplanes, while the second phase would be for a second runway and more terminals. The second phase costing $400 million was expected to raise the airport’s handling capacity to 4.5 million passengers per year. Neither Mota-Engil nor the government said when the second phase would start.
The existing international airport in the capital Kigali has an annual capacity of 1.6 million, according to the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, though it has little scope for expansion.
“Bugesera International Airport is coming in at the time when it is badly needed because we all know that the current airport capacity is not matching the growth of our traffic in terms of aircrafts, in terms of passengers,” said James Musoni, Rwanda’s minister for Infrastructure.