Legacy Destination of the Week 199: Terror In The Skies Kigali International Airport (HRYR) 17 Sep 2023 to 24 Sep 2023

Our Destination of the Week challenge features a new destination airport on a weekly basis. Every week we get to fly to a remote or a big commercial airport, depending on the monthly theme. Although there are multiple airports in the theme, each one is a separate destination and not linked in any way other than the common theme.

The Rules:

1. Depart in the aircraft of your choice from the airport of your choice, anywhere in the world (as long as you respect maximum flight hours). Consider this a new "cold start" flight.
2. Fly to the Destination of the Week airport. 
3. On completion of the flight, go to the PIREP page and file your flight as a DOTW mission. There is no flight tracking software involved. This is purely a fun exercise. Enjoy!

Welcome to our Legacy Destinations of the Week!

As our president, Stijn, announced in our March 2020 Newsletter our Destination of the Week officially comes to a close after 500 weeks of running. This means that we are now in DOTW ReRun mode. The original thought was to start with the very first DOTW, HUEN, however we had to consider DOTW theme timing. Some DOTW's are seasonal or calendar themed while others are holiday themed.

We want to thank Stijn for his DOTW creative efforts. The DOTW series has been a masterful effort on his part and unarguably one of our most successful programs here at Platinum Airways.

Stijn, if you live to be 100 years old, that will be 10% of your life dedicated to Platinum Airways. We can never thank you enough!


Hello and welcome to our new Destination of the Week series, Terror in the Skies. Before we get to the first destination, we'd like to point out that Platinum Airways finds acts of aggression against civilians who are traveling in aircraft absolutely despicable. Terror in the Skies remembers these innocent victims who are no longer with us. It is not by accident that Terror in the Skies is our theme for September, with 9/11 commemorative services around the corner. That being said, one cannot wish away terrorism - the downing of MH17 was a stark reminder.

HRYRp03Welcome to our fourth and final Terror in the Skies destination. This series has taken us to four events in aviation history that have changed our approach of security. PA830 should have served as wake-up call to prevent terrorists from smuggling bombs on board. KAL007 was the catalyst that opened access to GPS in order to prevent navigation errors. Avianca 203 enraged the US authorities to the extent that the main Colombian drugs cartel was smashed. This week's DOTW is slightly different, as it commemorates at least 800,000 people who fell prey to one of Africa's darkest pages in history in the killing frenzy that was ignited by a terrorist attack on an aircraft and its passengers twenty years ago.

On the evening of 6 April 1994, Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira were returning from peace talks in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. After dropping off Habyarama in Kigali, the Falcon 50 would continue to Bujumbura. It was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, Rwanda. Responsibility for the attack is disputed, with most theories proposing as suspects either the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) or government-aligned Hutu extremists opposed to negotiations with the RPF. Regardless of the cause of the assassination, it unquestionably resulted in the immediate national mobilization of anti-Tutsi militias, the Interahamwe, who proceeded to set up roadblocks across Rwanda and slaughter every Tutsi or moderate Hutu until driven away by rebel RPF troops.

Kigali International Airport, formerly known as Kanombe International Airport

HRYRp01Shortly before 8:20 pm local time (6:20 pm UTC), the presidential jet circled once around Kigali International Airport before coming in for final approach in clear skies. A weekly flight by a Belgian C-130 Hercules carrying UN troops returning from leave had been scheduled to land before the presidential jet, but was waved off to give the president priority. A surface-to-air missile struck one of the wings of the Dassault Falcon, before a second missile hit its tail. The plane erupted into flames in mid-air before crashing into the garden of the presidential palace, exploding on impact. The plane carried three French crew and nine passengers.

Chaos ensued on the ground. The Presidential Guard, who had been waiting to escort the president home from the airport, threatened people with their weapons. Twenty Belgian peacekeepers who had been stationed along the perimeter of the airport were surrounded by the Presidential Guard and some were disarmed. The airport was closed and the circling Belgian Hercules was diverted to Nairobi.

HRYRp00In Camp Kanombe, the bugle call immediately after the crash was taken by soldiers to mean that the Rwandan Patriotic Front had attacked the camp. The soldiers rushed to their units' armories to equip themselves. Soldiers of the paracommando brigade Commandos de recherche et d'action en profondeur assembled on the parade ground at around 9 pm while members of other units gathered elsewhere in the camp. At least one witness stated that about an hour after the crash there was the sound of gunfire in Kanombe. Munitions explosions at Camp Kanombe were also initially reported.

The death toll of the Rwandan Genocide is commonly estimated at 800,000, though some estimates top one million. The RPF invaded, eventually capturing the country and installing a new government. About 1.2 million refugees fled to neighbouring countries, partially due to fear of RPF retribution and partially due to a plan by the Hutu extremists to use the refugee camps as military bases for the reconquest of Rwanda. The Great Lakes refugee crisis thus became increasingly politicized and militarized.

HRYRp02While initial suspicion fell upon the Hutu extremists who carried out the subsequent genocide, there have been several reports since 2000 stating that the attack was carried out by the RPF on the orders of Paul Kagame, who went on to become president of Rwanda. However, all such evidence is heavily disputed and many academics, as well as the United Nations, have refrained from issuing a definitive finding. A French investigation found in January 2012 that "the missile fire which brought down the Rwandan president’s plane in 1994 and sparked the country’s genocide came from a military camp and not Tutsi rebels," clearing Kagame. The investigation identified Kanombe barracks, as the source of the missile. The base was controlled by FAR forces, including the Presidential Guard and the para-commando battalion, and the AntiAircraft Battalion (LAA) were also based there. The flight path would have passed over Kanombe barracks on the way to Kigali International Airport.

HRYRp04So our destination is Kigali International Airport (HRYR). Formerly known as Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport and sometimes referred to as Kanombe International Airport, it is the primary airport serving Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It is the main air gateway for all destinations in the country, and in addition serves as a transit airport for Goma and Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2004, the airport served 135,189 passengers. In 2008, the airport served about 270,000 passengers. In May 2011, the Rwanda CAA announced that Kigali airport will be upgraded to meet the strong demand. Works started in October 2012 and will be completed in May 2014. In 2012, data from Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority shows that passenger traffic through Kigali International Airport grew by 30 per cent to 488,903 last year, up from 377,327 in 2011. The airport handled over 300 flights a week. The airport is designed to handle 400 000 passengers per year. According last figures, The international and domestic passenger numbers were nearly 600 000, in 2013, while the flight frequencies were about of 400 weekly.

There are three terminals at Kigali. The main two-storey terminal was built to replace the single storey building, now housing the VIP terminal. The main terminal can handle 6 aircraft. The south side of the runway has two helicopter pads with access to the main runway. The pads are used for military helicopters. A cargo terminal is also located at the airport. The latest upgrades to the tarmac and support systems were made in 2002. In 2014, Kigali Airport ranked 7th best regional airport in Africa, because of its capacity to respond to disaster—with its fire department in category nine, the second best according to International Aviation Organisation standards. Since 2010, the airport is managed by Changi Airport Group.

HRYRp05There are plans to replace the current airport with a new one located south of Kigali on the south side of the Nyabarongo River in Bugesera. A new airport location is needed as the existing airport does not allow for growth (no room for additional runway and facilities). The new airport will have one runway, but it can allow a second one to be added later. Construction should begin in 2015.

HRYR has one runway:
10 / 28   11,482ft / 3500m   Paved
Elevation   1491m / 4,891ft

Live flight tracking is available from Flightaware.

HRYR charts are available here.

Freeware for FS9 can be found here.

Freeware scenery for FSX can be found here.

Freeware scenery for MSFS 2020 can be found here.

Freeware scenery for P3D v1 through v4 can be found here.

Freeware scenery for P3Dv5 can not be found.

Freeware scenery for X-Plane 9 & 10 could not be found.

Freeware scenery for X-Plane 11 & 12 can be found here.

Landing at Kigali International Airport


Taking off from Kigali International Airport



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