Key airport information may also be found at: World Aero Data Information on Rwanda
Rwanda being a relatively small country in terms or area and with relatively good quality roads there is not much requirement for many regional airports. Additionally, being such a hilly country there is little flat land.
The aviation sector in Rwanda has seen massive growth over the recent years. The sector is regulated by the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) which manages all aspects of civil aviation in the country. In the recent past, the institution has undergone legal reforms which have greatly impacted the execution of its operations in ensuring safety, security and infrastructural development.
Kigali International Airport (KIA), formerly known as Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport, is the primary airport serving Kigali, and the only international airport in the country. 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 Congo. The airport is located in the suburb of Kanombe, at the eastern edge of Kigali, approximately 12 km from the city centre.
There has been significant growth in air traffic with introduction of a number of international airlines to the country. KIA is undergoing expansion to meet the midterm additional capacity requirements. For the longer term, plans are underway to construct a world class international airport – New Bugesera International Airport (NBIA) - which will be located some 40 km from Kigali.
Domestic air transport is very limited. Regular flights are conducted to Kamembe Airport, while Gisenyi aerodrome is being upgraded.
For a list of the airports in Rwanda with details on each, please see the following attachment: List of Rwanda Airports
RwandAir, the national carrier, has in the recent past acquired new aircraft and operates on many routes in Africa and United Arab Emirates. Other airlines operating flights to Kigali include Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, SN Brussels Airline, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, and China Postal Airlines.
New Bugesera International Airport (NBIA)
Bugesera International Airport is being constructed to accommodate the growth of air traffic in Rwanda. The project will cost approximately US $650 million and will be located 25 km southeast of Kigali. The airport will have capacity for three million passengers per year. The first phase of construction will include the runway of 4,200 m, a cargo terminal and a passenger terminal with capacity for 1.8 million passengers per year.
Upgrade of Airports
In order to respond to the air traffic growth in Rwanda, the government has decided to upgrade its 3 main airports of Kigali, Kamembe, and Gisenyi/Rubavu. It includes terminals and runways expansion, new security, navigation and meteorological system.
The domestic airports of Kamembe and Gisenyi/Rubavu, located in the South and Southwest of Rwanda, respectively, have been given priority for rehabilitation by the government of Rwanda. The airport terminal in Kamembe has been upgraded; both Kamembe and Gisenyi/Rubavu airports will be standardized to accommodate heavy aircraft. The two airports will boost the tourism in the mountains for the gorillas and volcanoes and connect the country to Goma in DRC. For more information, please see the Rwandan Flyer Website.
Procedures for Foreign Registered Aircraft
Procedures and relevant forms for utilisation of the following services are explained on the RCAA website. These include:
- Over Flight & Landing Clearance
- Airport Restricted Areas Form
- Cargo Access Form
- Procedures for Clearance of Human Remains
- Airport Visit and Tour Notice
When all the application and documentation is presented the process according to RCAA should take about 1 to 3 days. RCAA also provides for emergency landing upon advance notification.
For RCAA contact information, please see the following attachment: Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority Contact Information
For Rwanda Aviation contact details, please see the following link: 4.5 Rwanda Airport Companies Contact List