The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Upgraded Airport Caters for Physically Impaired

Work to upgrade Kigali International Airport that started September last year is now 70 per cent complete and facilities for People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) have been put in place, the Ministry of Infrastructure (Mininfra) says.

A statement from Mininfra says that the expansion will make the airport terminal spacious, easing movement for both the able bodied and PLWDs using escalators and lifts.

"The number of check-in counters will be doubled from the current nine to make the queues shorter. Shopping experience will be made more luxurious with more outlets as well as refreshment areas and other services to make the airport a one stop center for both arriving and departing passengers," reads part of the statement.

The upgrade was initiated in response to surging passenger numbers. The number of passengers using the airport is projected to reach 500,000 per year by the end of this year and will reach 600, 00 by end of 2014.

The projections, the ministry says, are made in relation to the increased rate of passengers since 2008 when they were just 280,000.

"KIA was initially built to handle a capacity of 300,000 passengers but upon completion of the upgrade the airport will be able to handle up to 1.5million passengers," reads the ministry's statement.

After completion of an architectural design of the $17.8 project in 2011 by a British company, ROKO Construction Ltd from Uganda, was later contracted. The completion timeframe for the project was set at 15 months since September 2012. The ministry says this target 'will be achieved' looking at the pace of the ongoing works.

It is noted that 350 Rwandans [skilled and unskilled] are employed.

The departure lounge is being enlarged and the baggage area will be installed with an additional conveyor belt machine to increase efficiency of baggage provision.

On the airport's landside, another automated outlet and parking area complete to provide comfortable parking lots for many cars and quick exit to during busy hours.

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