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Kigali International Airport

Kigali International Airport

Kigali International Airport is Rwanda’s major entry for most travelers visiting Rwanda, formerly known as Kanombe International Airport, it is currently the only gateway and primary airport serving in Rwanda. It is located in Kanombe sector in the south east of the capital city of Kigali and just a few kilometers away from the administrative and business central district where most hotels are located.

Kigali International Airport in Rwanda operated by Rwanda Airports Authority and Rwanda Civil aviation authority serves both domestic, regional and international flights for all destinations to and from Rwanda and it also serves as a transit airport for different destinations especially regional flights to Goma and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Burundi.

The international Airport of Kigali is situated at an elevation of 1,491 meters above sea level making it one of the highly raised airports in the world, it is comprised of several facilities featuring three terminals and two helicopter pads, with a well paved 35,00meter runway that allows smooth landing and takeoff of all the different kinds of aircrafts, the three terminals include the VIP terminal, the main passenger terminal that can handle upto 6 small sized aircrafts and some jets and the cargo terminal.

For the last years Kigali International airport has undergone major upgrades and is still ongoing for a new apron, taxiways, and hangar, it continues to equip the air navigation services with advanced, top notch and up to date technologies which has raised to a higher ranking of being twice among the top 10 best airports in Africa based on highly rated overall service received by clients at Kigali International Airport.

There are other facilities at Kigali International airport in the airport buildings that are built and designed in a modern standard providing serenity and a feel of comfort include customs and immigrations lounge, weather facilities, base operating rooms, passenger waiting lounges with VIP section, offices such as Rwandair offices, Rwanda Civil aviation Authority offices, several check-in points/desks, sanitary service points, shops, forex bureaus, restaurants and bars, enough parking space, health care center, storage facilities among others. In addition to these facilities there are easily accessible services at Kigali International Airport such as free Wi-Fi, duty free shops, ATM/cash machines, mobile charging ports, and luggage wrapping points, lifts for vulnerable and disabled passengers and all these services and well equipped facilities will make your experience at Kigali International Airport a smooth and memorable one.

Kigali International Airport has been in records with increased and growth in passenger traffic and according to statistics by Rwanda Aviation Authority, the airport that is designed to handle 400,000 passengers per year, in 2016 both domestic and international passenger numbers raised upto 710,000 with about 400 weekly flights, however these records might have been affected by the current Covid 19 pandemic.

Despite the current covid19 situation, Kigali International Airport is open for all passengers arriving and transiting through Rwanda though this is done under adherence of strict Covid 19 control measures forexample every passenger arriving or transiting through Rwanda must have a Negative Covid 19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure from their travel origin, there are also other several control measures in place by the government of Rwanda as well as airport rules and regulations set by Rwanda Civil aviation Authority.

Since Kigali International Airport operates both domestic and international flights, there are different airlines that operate flights to Rwanda and connecting to different destinations a major international carrier for Rwanda is Rwandair which operates local, regional and international flights, other domestic flights in Rwanda are operated by the Akagera Aviation, a heli company that provides mostly chartered and helicopter flights.

Other regional and international flights to and from Rwanda are usually operated by several airlines that include the national carrier Rwandair, Kenya airways, Ethiopian airlines, Qatar airways, Turkish airlines, Egyptair, Brussels airlines and Royal Dutch Airlines(KLM). Ethiopian airlines and Qatar airways plus magma aviation provide cargo services.

This airport is easily accessible, very close to many of Kigali’s hotels, city center and thus transportation to and from the airport is usually by road through the less trafficked roads of Kigali by private cars, airport taxis for hire, the quick motorbikes (moto) however you can arrange your transportation through your booked hotel or trusted tour operator that offer exclusive airport pickups services that sometimes include meet and greet.

Apart from Kigali International Airport with its location landscape that doesn’t favour increased expansion and upgrades, Rwanda has ongoing construction of a new mega International Airport, The Bugesera International Airport located 25 kilometers south east of Kigali city. This new and bigger sized airport being built and designed on international standards will have one run way with provisions of a second one to be added later, the new airport is expected to complement Kigali International Airport by handling bigger traffic of passengers of up to 3 million passenger traffic annually thus diverting traffic from Kigali International Airport among other several reasons for its construction.

Because Rwanda is a small land locked country neighboring Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, most travelers coming for adventure safaris within East Africa and across these beautiful countries, find it easier and favorable to use Kigali International Airport as their main entry before transiting to these other countries. And this is highly recommended for tourists who want to do combined safaris that include specifically Gorilla trekking adventures in either Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park of Uganda or the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi – Biega National Park in the DRC, these National Parks in their respective countries are so close to the Rwandan border and thus accessibility to the airport is very convenient with less driving hours by road or a few minutes/ hours with charter flights.

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