By Peterson Tumwebaze
Kigali International Airport has been ranked second-best airport in Africa and best in East Africa by a reputable Canadian travel and hospitality firm, Sleeping Airports.
Sleeping Airports, with their website, www.sleepinginairports.net, is an internationally recognised travelllers’ online guide established in 1996 as a platform for passengers to share their airport experiences around the world.
The survey, released Wednesday by ‘The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,’ credited Kigali International Airport’s recent renovations, noting that the works have improved the airport’s on time performance and cleanliness.
The ranking is based on travellers’ response, where the acclaimed travel website asked them to rate their airport experiences.
Commenting on the ranking, Tonny Barigye, the public relations officer at Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, said: “This comes as a result of consistency in a traveller-centred vision of ensuring a world class, safe and secure as well as quality service. Rwanda has invested over $50 million to ensure the transformational change in the traveller’s comfort and world class facilities is realised.”
The airport was in 2014 ranked seventh best in Africa by Skytrax, a UK-based consultancy firm, on the basis of quality service. It was also ranked fifth-best by a Canadian aviation web site last year.
John Mirenge, the chief executive of RwandAir, said the ranking is a manifestation of the Government’s commitment to invest in aviation business.
The best and worst African airports are differentiated by their readiness to offer an efficient, customer-friendly and clean experience with respect to the latter, considered to be repeated poor-timing offenders, with sickly security procedures and incompetent staff, operating in mini dromes.
These are strong sentiments from travellers, as reflected in the 2016 edition of the annual survey of the best and worst airports conducted by Sleeping in Airports.
The survey is based on a handful of experiences like comfort (rest zones, gate seating), services, facilities, things to do, food options, immigration/security, customer care and sanitation.
Overall, South Africa’s Cape Town International Airport, and Kigali International Airport were ranked first and second-best on the continent, respectively, with Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (Port Louis) in Mauritius coming in third, and Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa, in fourth place.
Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport ranked ninth-best in Africa.
Juba International Airport in South Sudan, Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria, and Nouakchott Airport in Mauritania were ranked worst airports on the continent.
Globally, Singapore Changi International Airport was ranked the best airport in the world, followed by South Korea’s Seoul Incheon, while Tokyo Haneda in Japan came in third