Kigali International Airport was formerly known as Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport located in the suburb of Kanombe at the eastern rim of Kigali City. It is estimated to be 5 kilometres by road to the east of the central business district of the Capital city of Kigali. However, sometimes people referred to as Kanombe International Airport which is a primary airport serving the economy of Rwanda, above all it is the major air gateway for all destinations in the country, in addition it also serves as transit airport for Bukavu and Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

Kigali International Airport

Kigali International Airport is the main departing and arriving landing site in Kigali which is recognised as the best compact Airport in Africa. The Airport is under the management of ‘’IATA’’ the International Air Transport Association, the body that represents Airline in over 53 countries in the world and it was founded in 1945. The ‘’IATA’’ code for Kigali Airport is KGL under the Airport body known as Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority and the head offices of this body is positioned at Kigali international Airport with a role of establishing the Rwanda Airport Authority.

The Kigali International Airport is on a high demand level offering the 3 main terminals at Kigali and the other two-story terminal are built to replace the single-story building which now represents the VIP terminal. Moreover, the main terminal can grip about six small to mid-sized aircraft handling up to a Boeing 747 jet, which is the best carrier to offer comfortable configuration seating pitch in an Airline. Since it is the biggest Airport in Kigali, the south part of the runway has two helicopter pads with easy access to the main runway and such pads are more used for military helicopters. Kigali Airport offers both passenger terminal and cargo terminal of which cargo terminal is positioned at the airport. The port is well modernized with free WIFI inside the waiting area for passengers who first reserve seats before boarding their flight.

Fortunately, in 2014 Kigali International Airport was ranked the 7th best regional airport in Africa because of its developed capacity to respond to the disaster happening to be the second-best through its fire department according to the system of international Aviation Organisation Standards. 

However, Kigali Airport offers its main airline offices known as Rwanda Air and its head office is located on the top floor of the airport main building and in addition Akagera Aviation and Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority have got their offices along with the airport.

In Kigali, there are 3 airlines that are based in Kigali Rwanda’s largest capital city that is Akagera Aviation, Rwandan heli Company and Tempus jet which are an American airline that provides charter flights.

Historically, Rwanda being landlocked, when Rwanda Civil War took place in the country Kigali airport was the main strategic centre which acted as the easiest way in and out of the country. By that time the airport had two runways after the Arusha Accord envisions, one runway was blocked after appeal from Railway Protection Force ‘’RPF’’. Unfortunately, later on in 1994, the president of Rwanda’s plane crushed down in the Assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira and other 11 people died in the plane. The event of the Rwandan Defence Force was a renewal of the civil war and at the starting point of the Rwandan Genocide.

According to passenger traffic number that was served in 2004, the airport served to number of about  135,189 passengers, 2008 it served to about 270,000 passengers the number went on increasing that’s why on May 2011, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority body announced that Kigali airport will be reformed to meet  the strong demand of which the work began in October 2012 up to May 2014. However, in 2012 the data which was based on passenger traffic through Kigali International Airport, the total number of passengers grew by 30 percent to 488,903 than last years and the number of passengers keeps on growing each year. The airport during those years it used to handle over 300 flights a week and was designed to handle 400,000 passengers per year. And during 2013 both international and domestic passenger numbers were closely to 600,000 passengers and by 2016 the number of passengers increased from 600,000 to 710,000 to both international and domestic.

In September 2016, the Rwanda government signed a partnership with the Portuguese company known as Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa, which was meant to operate the airport for 25 years. The first phase of the new Airport was for a capacity of about 1.7 million passengers per year and the second phase to be built to raise the capacity of about 4.5 million airport passengers each year. The construction will cover the cost of US$418 million for the first phase and the second phase with a total investment of about US$818 million dollars.

By March 2019 the Rwanda government confirmed that some work should be put on hold temporarily in order to change the platform of the place and the plan of redesigning was to make sure that the airport is built to international standards. 

Kigali International Airport has got a well-reserved reception for both departing and arriving travelers making it one of the beautiful airport in East Africa, it has nice looking building facilities with shopping centers, Airline offices like Rwanda Air, parking, bars, air-conditioned in waiting areas for the passengers. And in order to facilitate your travel trip from Kigali Airport, we advise the passengers to carry all their personal traveling documents such as customs, yellow cards, Visa, passport many more. 

book a safari