KENYAN GOVERNMENT UNDER FIRE OVER FURTHER DELAYS TO BUILD A SECOND RUNWAY AT JKIA
(Posted 09th May 2018)
Reports about a further delay of the second runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport have raised the heat among airlines, which are suffering the main fallout whenever a runway closure at Kenya’s primary international aviation gateway forces them to divert their planes to distant secondary airports while timely take offs are delayed.
After already cancelling the Project Greenfield in its entirety, leaving pole position in the wider region to Addis Ababa and Kigali, both of which are getting brand new state of the art airports to cater for the ever rising passenger numbers into and through these two hub airports, did the decision to halt the construction of a second runway not go down well with the aviation industry. Also on course for opening next year is a state of the art new passenger terminal building in Dar es Salaam, an airport which recently played host to an Emirates Airbus A380 which had to divert when weather in Mauritius made landing impossible. Notably did this diversion, and subsequent economic benefit, fall to Dar es Salaam as JKIA in Nairobi is not thought to be fit to cater for such a giant aircraft.
‘What review does it take now, at this stage, to determine the value of a second runway? The value of it is visible to all whenever the single runway at JKIA is blocked and all incoming flights are diverted to Entebbe, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam. Only a week or so ago you wrote about air traffic in Kenya now topping 10.1 million passengers combined and unless we invest in forward looking infrastructure we will endanger our leading position as East Africa’s main aviation hub. There are many airlines interested in flying to Nairobi but the inadequate infrastructure, i.e. only one runway at such a busy airport, poses a major challenge to on time operations and brings the airport to a halt when a plane gets stuck on the runway. Whom did those people consult when they decided to build a standard gauge railway, when they decided where to build stations along the new route? In airline terms, it seems these guys have been flying blind over the past years or they would otherwise have understood what is at stake here‘ ranted a regular aviation source from the Kenyan capital when passing the information.
Notably did the African Development Bank last year already set aside a massive loan, after approving an application from the Kenyan government, the same government which now seems to have developed second thoughts if not cold feet over the project to the ire of the aviation industry, both local and foreign, using JKIA as their main base for operations into Eastern Africa.
Added the source: ‘Just see how SGR is financially struggling with lack of cargo right now. Let me tell your readers, it is there that the government should have consulted but with the second runway here at JKIA, that is a must because right now the airline industry is hobbling on one leg when, in order to run, two legs are needed. And run we must when you see what is happening in Addis Ababa where not only a new airport is being built but where their airline is outpacing ours like never before‘.
Fodder for thought no doubt, so keep watching this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the African continent.