Rwanda is set to complete work on a new airport, located about 40 kilometres south of Kigali, by 2026. Work on the airport began in 2017 but construction was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure stated the new airport, costing an estimated US$2 billion to build, will feature a 130 000-sqm main terminal building capable of initially accommodating eight million passengers annually. This is expected to rise to more than 14 million in the future, making it one of the busiest aviation hubs in Africa. Adjacent to the passenger terminal will be a dedicated cargo terminal, with the capacity to handle 150 000 tonnes of cargo annually. Once the new airport opens, the existing Kigali International Airport will remain operational for special arrivals, some chartered flights, and a pilot training school. Pre-pandemic, the airport handled close to a million passengers annually, but its geographic limitations – on top of a small hill and surrounded by human settlements – meant a move was necessary to allow for expansion. Qatar Airways has 60 per cent ownership of the new airport after signing an investment agreement with the Rwandan government in 2019. The partnership features three agreements to build, own, and operate the facility.

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