December 10, 2019: Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60 percent stake in a new $1.3 billion Bugesera International Airport in Rwanda. The new airport is being redesigned to accommodate 7 million passengers per year, which is located about 25 kilometres southeast of Kigali. Phase II expected to accommodate 14 million passengers a year, will commence operation by 2032. The details were revealed on the twitter page of the state-run Rwanda Development Board.

The deal will allow Qatar Airways to not only build the airport, but to own and operate the facility in the future.

The country's infrastructure minister Claver Gatete told a news conference that a construction company was still being sought to build the airport and that once work starts, the first phase would take five years to complete.

The agreements signed will mark a key milestone in the development of Rwanda’s vibrant aviation sector, in the context of the excellent bilateral relationship between Qatar and Rwanda.

The plans for the new airport are a modification of those drawn up in 2017 for a smaller facility with a maximum capacity of 4.5 million passengers a year in the same location.

Company and government officials said at the time that Rwanda had signed a deal with the African division of Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil MOTA.LS to build an international airport at a cost of $818 million.

Gatete said the investment from Qatar Airways would enable it to build the larger airport. He added that there was also a possibility that Qatar Airways would help state-run carrier RwandAir to expand.

Qatar Airways flies daily between Doha and Kigali, via Entebbe, using a B787.

Qatar and Rwanda have built a strong relationship with each other over the years. In 2012, Qatar Airways introduced daily flights to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Since then, authorities of both countries have continued to uphold dialogue. Earlier this year, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, visited Kagame. The visit was part of the three-day trip and concluded with a series of signed bilateral agreements.

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