“More than ever, we need an airport that can match the growth we are witnessing in the aviation industry,” Musoni said. By John Green

Construction of the highly anticipated Bugesera International Airport is scheduled to start in June next year, following the signing of an agreement between the government and Mota Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa SA, a Portuguese firm that deals in civil construction, port operations and logistics.
The two parties signed the agreement last evening at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Kigali.
The recently formed Aviation Travel and Logistics Holdings Limited (ATL) signed the deal on behalf of the government.
The deal will see Mota Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa SA finance, and construct and complete the airport by December 2018 and later run the facility’s operations for 25 years with an option to extend by another 15 years.
Under the agreement, the government will not incur costs to put up the facility while the Portuguese firm is expected to recoup their investment by running operations.
Manuel Mota, the chief executive of the Portuguese company, said they intend to spend US$418 million in the first phase, which is expected to deliver a facility of international standards with capacity to handle about 1.7 million passengers every year.
Upon completion of the first phase, in December 2018, Mota said that they will commence expansion works which will increase the airport’s capacity to 4.5 million passengers per year and costing an additional USD US$400 million.
That would bring the amount spent on the whole project to US$818 million.
Citing the tight deadline to complete the facility (within 28 months), Mota termed it as a “fast-track project”.
“The groundbreaking will be in June next year as we await securing finance but before that we will be starting some preparatory works in partnership with the government,” Mota said.
The Minister for Infrastructure James Musoni, emphasised the urgency for the proposed airport saying it will help accommodate the ever-growing air traffic in a country that’s on its march to becoming a major conference and business hub.
“More than ever, we need an airport that can match the growth we are witnessing in the aviation industry,” Musoni said.
He expressed confidence in the firm’s capacity, saying they had performed well in a project to expand the Kigali International Airport, the country’s only international airport at the moment.
He allayed fears that the airport project could experience delays as was the case with the Kigali Convention Centre saying that the experience garnered putting up the latter offered invaluable lessons to the government with regard to undertaking of large projects.