No sooner had the Kenya Airport Authority CEO Stephen Gichuki returned to his office did he move to implement the cabinet requirement for the Project Greenfield to go ahead and invited a number of stakeholders to provide their final input, recommendations and observations.
Gichukis return, in itself a proverbial slap across the faces of still in office transport minister Amos Kimunya and his cohorts on the KAA board he used to push the CEO out of office, resulted in swift action, according to a regular aviation source from JKIA aimed to please those in cabinet who came out on his side as the source put it: Gichuki knows who butters his bread, no longer the minister for transport but cabinet and the presidents office. They are keen to see this airport expansion go underway, but the vote was also conditional on having all stakeholders involved. Gichuki is now calling for the submitted design given by the project consultants to Anhui Construction to be given one final review, and Kenya Airways, Civil Aviation Authority, the Vision 2030 Secretariat, security, customs and immigration are all required to respond and submit their input. The good thing, the other airlines, handling companies, the tourism sector, cargo agents in fact everyone who matters has been given the same opportunity. Cabinet gave the order and Gichuki is not wasting time but moving. That is the good news now. The bad news is that Kimunya is still in office and the KAA board still unchanged. They may yet try to throw spanners in the works and really should be thrown out to clear the way for the project to go on undisturbed.
While KAA has not immediately announced a timeframe for the consultative engagement between all parties, the period given will not be very long so as to avoid further delays beyond the 9 months which Kimunya and the KAA boards action have already caused.
The cost of the project have reportedly already risen from an initial 55 billion Kenya Shillings to 65 billion Kenya Shillings and any major proposed alterations to the plans as a result of the consultations now underway may result in yet higher cost for Kenyas most important aviation infrastructure project undertaken yet.
Though shown recently in a related article, here below is the broad outline of the new Jomo Kenyatta International Airport infrastructure development, taken from a Kenya Airways Investors Presentation which was published ahead of the share rights issue back in April this year. The slide shows both ongoing expansion works as well as the Project Greenfield overview, critical to the rollout of Project Mawingo by Kenya Airways, which spells out the national airlines 10 year strategic plan for network and fleet expansion. Subsequently a source close to KQ said: The new expansion development for JKIA will help Kenya Airways to accomplish growth and expansion targets. KQ and their partners will be the main users of the new facilities and it is only in order to give them a final opportunity to submit their wish list to KAA. Yes there were some consultations before also but this is a cabinet directive for the project to kick off and KQ will be playing their part in this, they are the national airline after all. Watch this space.