Kigali International Airport
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Kigali International Airport

Kigali International Airport
Rwanda Airport Authority.png
Airport typeCivil aviation airport
OperatorRwanda Airports Authority
LocationKigali, Rwanda
Hub forRwandAir
Elevation AMSL4,891 ft / 1,491 m
Coordinates01°57?59?S 030°07?59?E / 1.96639°S 30.13306°E / -1.96639; 30.13306Coordinates: 01°57?59?S 030°07?59?E / 1.96639°S 30.13306°E / -1.96639; 30.13306
KGL is located in Rwanda
Location within Rwanda
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 11,482 3,500 Paved
Statistics (2016)

Kigali International Airport (IATA: KGL, ICAO: HRYR), formerly known as Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport, but sometimes referred to as Kanombe International Airport, is the primary airport serving Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It is the main air gateway for all destinations in the country, and in addition serves as a transit airport for Goma and Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The airport is located in the suburb of Kanombe, at the eastern edge of Kigali, approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), by road, east of the central business district of the city of Kigali.[2]


During the Rwandan Civil War, Kigali airport was a major strategic point. Since Rwanda is land-locked, this represented the only easy way in and out of the country. The airport had two runways, but after the Arusha Accords, one runway was closed down after a request from the RPF. Later in April 1994, the President of Rwanda's plane was shot down in the Assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira. It is disputed who shot down the plane, the RPF or the FAR (Rwandan Defence Forces). This event triggered a renewal of the civil war and the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide.

Passenger traffic

In 2004, the airport served 135,189 passengers. In 2008, the airport served about 270,000 passengers.[3] In May 2011, the Rwanda CAA announced that Kigali airport will be upgraded to meet the strong demand.[4] Works started in October 2012 and will be completed in May 2014.[5] In 2012, data from Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority shows that passenger traffic through Kigali International Airport grew by 30 per cent to 488,903 last year, up from 377,327 in 2011.[6] The airport handled over 300 flights a week. The airport is designed to handle 400,000 passengers per year. According to last figures, international and domestic passenger numbers were nearly 600,000 in 2013,[1] while flight frequencies were about 400 weekly.[]International and domestic passenger numbers were 710,000 in 2016[1]


There are three terminals at Kigali. The main two-story terminal was built to replace the single-story building, now housing the VIP terminal. The main terminal can handle 6 small-to-midsized aircraft, but also up to a Boeing 747 jet. The south side of the runway has two helicopter pads with access to the main runway. Such pads are used for military helicopters. A cargo terminal is also located at the airport. The latest upgrades to tarmac and support systems were made in 2002. There is free WiFi in the airport waiting area. In 2014, Kigali Airport ranked 7th best regional airport in Africa, because of its capacity to respond to disaster, through its fire department (Category Nine), the second best according to International Aviation Organisation standards.

Rwandair has its head office on the top floor of the airport main building.[7][8] The airline previously had its head office in Centenary House in Kigali.[9] The airline began moving its operations from Centenary House to the airport on Friday 14 May 2010. The airline was scheduled to be moved in by Monday 17 May 2010.[8]

In addition, Akagera Aviation and the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority have their offices at the airport.[10]

New Kigali (Bugesera) International Airport

There are plans to replace the current airport with a new one located south of Kigali on the south side of the Nyabarongo River in Bugesera. A new airport location is needed as the existing airport does not allow for upgrades such as additional runways and other facilities. The new airport will have one runway, with provisions for a second one to be added later. Construction was planned to begin in 2015.[11]

On September 2016, a contract between the Rwandan government and Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A., a Portuguese firm, was signed. The company will construct the airport in two phases with works on the first phase now scheduled to begin in June 2017. After finishing the first phase by December 2018, Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A. will subsequently operate the airport for 25 years. The airport will have a capacity of 1.7 million passengers per year. A second phase that is planned to be built after that is supposed to raise the capacity of the airport to 4.5 million passengers per year. Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A. will cover the costs of US $418 million for the first phase and US $400 million for the second phase, leading to a total investment of US $818 million. As a compensation, the company has the right to keep the profits from operating the airport. Under the agreement, the Rwandan government won't have to contribute to the costs of construction and operation.[12]

On March 2019, the government confirmed that some works were put on hold temporarily in order for a redesign to take place.[13] The redesign will make sure that the airport is up to international standards.

Airlines and destinations

There are 3 airlines based in Kigali: Akagera Aviation, a Rwandan heli-company;[14] Tempus Jet, an American airline providing charter flights;[15] and Nexus Aero, a Saudi VIP airline.[16]



1: Some of Brussels Airlines' inbound flights to Kigali are nonstop, while others stop in Bujumbura, and some outbound flights are nonstop, while others stop in Entebbe.[26] The airline does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Kigali and Entebbe or Bujumbura.
2: KLM flies daily direct from Amsterdam to Kigali. Outbound flights from Kigali to Amsterdam stop in Entebbe. However, the airline does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Kigali and Entebbe.
3: Qatar Airways' flights from Doha to Kigali make a stop in Entebbe. However, the airline does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Entebbe and Kigali.
4: Turkish Airlines' outbound flights from Kigali to Istanbul make a stop in Entebbe. However, the airline does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Kigali and Entebbe.


Incidents and accidents

  • 6 April 1994 - A Falcon 50 owned by and carrying then-president of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down while approaching the airport, killing all 12 aboard including Habyarimana and then-president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, who were returning from a meeting to end the Rwandan civil war. The wreckage landed in front of the presidential palace. The attack was blamed on Tutsi rebels, and, as a result, within one hour of the crash Interahamwe militias began the Rwandan Genocide. There is no consensus on who actually shot down or ordered the attack on the plane.
  • 1 June 2004 - An Antonov 32 owned by Sun Air (9XR-SN), reportedly suffered some problems with the left main undercarriage after takeoff from Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The airplane was headed for Goma, but diverted to Kigali for an emergency landing. The aircraft crashed on landing, causing the Russian pilots and Congolese passengers to sustain serious injuries. The An-32 involved in the accident had been detained in Goma mid-July 2003 because it carried a shipment of armaments destined for a Rwanda-backed militia in the Congolese Kasai region.
  • 12 November 2009, RwandAir Flight 205, a Bombardier CRJ-100 crashed into a VIP terminal shortly after an emergency landing; out of the 10 passengers and 5 crew, 1 passenger died.


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  2. ^ "Road Distance Between Kigali And Kanombe With Map". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "Four years ago, Kigali International Airport (KIA) used to handle 40-60 take-offs a week, with about 270,000 travelers a year using the airport". 7 March 2013. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013.
  4. ^ Majyambere, Gertrude (13 May 2011). "Rwanda: Kigali International Airport to Get Rwf8 Billion Facelift". Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 2017 – via AllAfrica.
  5. ^ "News details". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "New Rwanda airport ready for take-off". 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "All RwandAir Offices & Branches Archived 6 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine." RwandAir. Retrieved on 24 May 2011. "Kigali Head Office Kigali International Airport Main Building (top floor)"
  8. ^ a b "Announcement on RwandAir Head Office shift from Centenary House to new airport office Archived 15 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine." RwandAir. Retrieved on 16 June 2010.
  9. ^ Flight International 12-18 April 2005
  10. ^ "ANNUAL CONTRACT FOR OFFICE STATIONERY SUPPLY Archived 21 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine." Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved on 3 March 2013. "1. Tender Documents in ENGLISH may be obtained from Kigali International Airport (RCAA offices)"
  11. ^ The construction of the Bugesera Airport is expected to commence 2015. First Phase completed for 2017, Archived 9 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Portuguese firm takes over Bugesera airport project, says works to be completed in 2018". New Times. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 March 2019. Retrieved 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "About Akagera". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ "Tempus Jets international operations". Archived from the original on 3 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Our headquarters are based in Saudi Arabia with a back-up Flight Operations Centre located in Bahrain as well as a new Africa base in Rwanda". Archived from the original on 23 June 2013.
  17. ^ Liu, Jim. "Jambo Jet Nov 2019 network additions". Routesonline. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Qatar suspends Kigali in July/August 2017". Routesonline. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ "Rwandair adds Addis Ababa service from April 2019". 4 January 2019. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "RwandAir to start own flights between Kigali and Brussels Airport ? -". 13 June 2017. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "Rwandair schedules Guangzhou launch in June 2019". RoutesOnline. 22 March 2019. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Rwandair service changes from Jan 2017". Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Rwandair plans May 2017 London debut". Routesonline. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ "Pomp as maiden RwandAir flight departs for Tel Aviv". The New Times. 25 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Istanbul New Airport Transition Delayed Until April 5, 2019 (At The Earliest)". Archived from the original on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "brussels airlines W15 East Africa Service Changes". Routesonline. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Schedule". 29 February 2012. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014.
  28. ^ "Ethiopian to transport cargo to Brazzaville | The Rwanda Focus". 6 May 2013. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013.
  29. ^ "Kenya Airways Cargo serves Kigali, two times a week". Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  30. ^ "Martinair Services Kigali From Amsterdam" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 2009.

External links

Media related to Kigali International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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