A fresh round of tendering will shortly go underway, seeking interest from investors to establish a second aviation catering business at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and quite likely also at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, after the first round of tenders produced no bidder meeting all the specified requirements by the Kenya Airport Authority.
A revised tender document has reportedly been drafted already, taking into account where the previous bids failed in compliance and KAA appears confident that all those who applied at the first round will resubmit their applications for consideration by the procurement and logistics department of the Kenya Airports Authority.
This will bring to an end the decades old monopoly of NAS but with growing demand by airlines to fly to Nairobi, add frequencies or bring larger aircraft to cater for more passengers, any new competitor will find that there is very likely more than enough business for two catering companies. There is an estimated demand for more than 10.000 meals a day, both for short haul and long haul services, making it a viable business for an investor, especially considering that there will only be two firms concessioned by KAA to offer such services for the medium term. The planned expansion of the Kenya Airways fleet too will be eyed by the licensed caterers as KQ intends to grow from presently 35 aircraft to 65 in the medium term to 107 by 2012, making it for rich pickings when providing inflight catering to that airline alone, inspite of having in December last year eliminated their meal service on domestic flights to Mombasa, Malindi and Kisumu.
NAS employs over 1.100 staff in Mombasa and Nairobi at present and is co-owned by a consortium including Servair, itself a subsidiary of KLM / Air France which also holds shares in Kenya Airways.
Interesting times ahead for sure as KAA is getting down to evicting the last few monopolies still existing at the airports, such as catering and certainly trying hard to unravel the Duty Free Shop contracts which had a monopoly clause imbedded since 1989, way before KAA was created.
Watch this space.