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Check-in counters at the newly-refurbished departure section of Kigali International Airport. (J. Mbanda)

Facelift for Kigali airport matches growing traffic

November 6, 2014

Check-in counters at the newly-refurbished departure section of Kigali International Airport. (J. Mbanda) Check-in counters at the newly-refurbished departure section of Kigali International Airport. (J. Mbanda)[/caption] Unique landscaping has complemented architecture and design to make natural vegetation more visible. The interior, too, was redesigned to add glow and more space was created for duty free shops to ensure travellers’ preference is met with variety. Tony Barigye, the Rwanda Civil Aviation communication officer, told The New Times that the works, which have cost $17.8 million, are 97 per cent complete and that what remains to be done is to do with “simple internal arrangements that will be completed in the shortest time possible.” He said another conveyor belt was added to the former two to increase baggage handling efficiency. “To ease of movement for the vulnerable such as pregnant women, the elderly and those with special needs, we added two escalators and three lifts,” Barigye said. RUHANGA* Kigali International Airport has a fresh serene look as renovation works to expand and improve services are almost complete. From the outside, one readily notices the new, better, and larger departures and arrivals terminal lounges, which have been separated and improved to increase safety and security standards. To these, the customary green space and pavements have been maintained and improved to accentuate the picturesque look on the outside. Inside, check-in desks were increased from nine to 16 to reduce time spent in queues. “Immigration desks have been increased too, not forgetting the e-immigration technology for citizens that has reduced the queues and increased the quality of service provision,” he said. [caption id="attachment_13804" align="alignright" width="300"]Passengers pick their bags at the arrivals section of the airport. Passengers pick their bags at the arrivals section of the airport.[/caption] The interior of the terminal building has been given a more appealing architectural outlook. It can now handle a capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year. Currently, at least 600,000 passengers use the airport annually, officials say Herbert Muhire, a regular traveller, said he has already noticed the difference. “I have been at many regional and international airports, but I could not help but marvel and be proud of Kigali International Airport,” he said. What impressed most, Muhire says, is the new infrastructure, check-in points, immigration desks, a first aid or health point. “There is also choice between escalators and stairs, in addition to separated departures and arrivals lounges,” he said. Kigali International Airport is ranked seventh best regional airport in Africa. Some of the travellers, including members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) on departure from Kigali at the end of their session, during this newspaper’s tour of the facility, approved of the redevelopment. MP Judith Pareno said “everything is just so impressive.” “There is a great improvement. It looks great even from the outside,” Pareno said. Renovation works started about two years ago. *Source newtimes]]>

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