VENTURES AFRICA- East African aviation authorities have been urged to make efforts to improvise on the facilities at the airport if they are to meet up with the growing traffics. This suggestion was made in Rwanda at the 32nd meeting of regional aviation experts. It was stressed at the meeting that for East Africa aviation authorities to achieve its goal of a ‘single sky operation’, individual aviation authorities must improve their indigenous aviation facilities.
The declaration is similar to the recommendation made at the last regional meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. It was revealed, then, that little progress had been made to improve key areas vital for modern air transport facilitation.
East African aviation markets have continued to experience a surge in recent years. In 2011, Tanzania’s Nyerere International Airport reported a 5 percent increase in international aircraft movements and 14 percent for international passengers mainly due to increase in frequencies by Qatar Airways between Doha and Dar es Salaam.
Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport registered a 12.2 percent rise in the number of aircraft handled. International passengers increased by 12.68 percent. Moi and Eldoret Airports also recorded increases due to increase in the number of tourists into the country. Some 19,499 arrivals were also registered at the Kigali AirPort in July 2011, a considerable increase from 13,047 in 2010.
Although, Burundi International Airport might have reported a reduction in overall aircraft movement from 3,490 recorded between July and December 2010 to 3,187 for the same period in 2011; the commercial aircraft movements increased by 11.4 percent from 2,426 to 2,704. This contributed to the rise in passengers from 88,402 to 115,579 passengers.
Apart from this, the numbers of airplane at terminals continue to increase as passengers continue to troop into the airports to board flights. For instance, in Kenya, it was reported by the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) that not less than ten planes are at the terminals at the same time.
The Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva, also attested to the essence of improvement in the aviation industry at the official launch of the Turkish Airways flights to Kigali last week. He said that the development aviation industry will accelerate Rwanda’s economic development.
“Aviation industry has for long been one of the main driving forces behind the development of tourism in our country and the continuous entry into Rwanda’s aviation industry of new airlines, the country is gaining access to new territories thus opening Rwanda to the world.”
Meanwhile, in making effort towards the appeal; Rwanda is investing $17 million to renovate and improve facilities at the Kigali International Airport. The investment will see an additional floor added on top of the Airport’s main structure to accommodate administration offices and create more space for passenger lounges, shops, restaurants and other amenities.
Tony Barigye, RCAA Public Relations officer revealed that, “These improvements will enable us handle the increasing traffic as we wait for the completion of the main Airport in Bugesera, which we expect to incorporate all elements meeting the international standards including animal holding facilities.”
Burundi’s Chief of Air Transport, Deus Niyonkuru also told delegates that his country is implementing a master plan for a new facility to meet international standards.
Kenya and Tanzania are not left out of the race as they also have areas of urgent need to address. For example, all member states were urged to put in place proper animal and plant handling facilities to counter possible disease outbreaks. Only Kenya has one at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.