Construction works on a new taxiway at Rwanda’s main airport, Kigali International Airport, have started. The project, according Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, the State Minister for Transport, will facilitate easy movement of aircraft and enhance efficiency at the airport.
“A parallel taxiway enhances expedited turnaround of air carriers thus saving time, burning less fuel and saving money,” Nzahabwanimana told Business Times.
The increases in aircraft movements into and out of Kigali International Airport have prompted Rwanda’s Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) to act. The lack of a separate taxiway, which would allow aircraft to taxi for takeoff or taxi to the apron off the main runway, has increasingly impacted the airport’s operation in recent months, especially as national carrier RwandAir now operates a fleet of 8 aircraft which is due to increase by 50 percent in 2016.
According to Silas Udahemuka, the director general of RCAA, the new taxiway is expected to be ready by April 2016.
“Mota-Engil Africa, one of the leading providers of integrated engineering and construction services in sub-Saharan Africa, is undertaking the project,” Udahemuka added.
AllAfrica reports that RCAA plans to implement recommendations by the 37th East African consultative meeting held in Kigali early this year, and 2007 audit findings by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which point to the investment of infrastructure that will boost efficiency and improve safety of equipment and passengers.
The airport authorities recently installed a Rwf36 million thermal imaging technology to detect cases of Ebola, among other things.
Alex Buterere, the RwandAir senior manager in charge of grounds operations, said: “There is no doubt, therefore, that this infrastructure development will help enhance the aviation sector and position Rwanda as one of the aviation hubs in the region going forward.”
Also part of the expansion is a new apron section to provide additional parking spaces, a new air traffic control tower which will incorporate the latest technologies in the market, as well as an upgraded airfield ground lighting system, among other priorities.
Following the rehabilitation, expansion and modernization of the terminal building over the past three years, Kigali International Airport is now widely acknowledged as East Africa’s leading airport in terms of functionality and short ways. The growth in passenger numbers, largely attributed to the transit traffic brought in by RwandAir, from 263,264 in 2008 to over 600,000 travelers currently, is an endorsement the work done by the RCAA.