Qatar Airways to take 60% stake in Rwanda international airport

The plans for the new airport are a modification of those drawn up in 2017 for a smaller facility.

    The board said a second phase of construction is expected to be completed by 2032 and would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year [File: Jason Alden/Bloomberg]
    The board said a second phase of construction is expected to be completed by 2032 and would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year [File: Jason Alden/Bloomberg]

    Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60 percent stake in a new $1.3bn international airport in Rwanda, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on Monday.

    The board said a first phase of construction would provide facilities for seven million passengers a year in the Bugesera district, about 25km southeast of the capital Kigali. A second phase, expected to be completed by 2032, would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year.

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    "The partnership features three agreements to build, own, and operate the state-of-the-art facility," the MoU signed between Qatar Airways and the Rwandan government said.

    The country's infrastructure minister Claver Gatete told a news conference that a construction company was still being sought to build the airport.

    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 to build an international airport at a cost of $818m.

    Gatete said the investment from Qatar Airways would enable it to build the larger airport.

    "We are looking for a bigger sized airport. That's why we are looking for a bigger investor," he said.

    Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is currently visiting Kigali for the presentation of the International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Award.

    Gatete said there was also a possibility that Qatar Airways would help state-run carrier RwandAir to expand, but gave no more details.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency