JKIA expansion groundbreaking ceremony set for Tuesday


(Posted 01st December 2013)

Years late, but better late than never will on Tuesday next week the long awaited ground breaking ceremony take place at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, by none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose father in fact formally commissioned the airport back in 1978 and after whom the airport was then named.

Project Greenfield, according to plans seen by this correspondent, will involve the construction of a second runway as well as peripheral facilities like another taxiway, aircraft parking spaces and aprons. Key of the project though it a new mega terminal, which when complete will become the home of national airline Kenya Airways and the SkyTeam partner airlines KQ works hand in hand with.

The new terminal will add a further 20 million passenger capacity boost to Nairobi, besides the anticipated completion of the new Terminal 4 which will adjoin the present concourse with international departure units 1 and 2. Groundbreaking at JKIA will take place only days after President Kenyatta also launched the new standard gauge railway at a similar ceremony in Mombasa, and both projects should be ready by around 2017, within his first term of office.

The JKIA capacity boost is much expected by airlines flying to Nairobi and many more waiting for the added capacity to commence flights, as currently the airport’s capacity has nearly reached its limit vis a vis flight movements and more crucially the availability of aircraft parking positions, check in counters, gates for departures and passengers facilities. In fact, national airline Kenya Airways, with plans to increase their fleet from the present 45 aircraft to 119 aircraft by the year 2022/23, which includes as many as 12 cargo aircraft, and their intention to widen their network from 65 destinations as of now to 115 destinations also by 2022/23, depend entirely on the capacity boost of JKIA. CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni has repeatedly gone on record that the new infrastructure will be crucial to Kenya Airways’ own success and growth plans and that unless JKIA expands, Kenya Airways own future will be in doubt. The airline will next year alone get at least an additional 11 aircraft, among them the up to 6 B787 Dreamliners, more B777-300ER’s and several more B737-800NG’s.

(The ‘new look’ JKIA after Project Greenfield has been fully implemented)

The overall cost, as present prices, is estimated to be in the 65+ billion Kenya Shillings region, covering both the second runway and the new terminal building and peripheral infrastructure like roads, car parks and related facilities. Kenya has in recent years made great strides in adding road and highway infrastructure, mainly around the capital city of Nairobi, and the additions to the airport, as well as the new railway, will strengthen Kenya’s position as the main gateway from the sea and from the air to Eastern Africa.

Watch this space for breaking and regular news from Eastern Africa’s aviation sector.

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