The Star (Nairobi)

Africa: JKIA On Course to Be Africa's Aviation Hub

Work on terminal 4 at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will be completed by August 2013 if all goes according to plan. It includes 37,500 square metres of floor space and parking space for 1,500 cars. The project began at the end of August 2010.

The terminal will have a capacity of 2.5 million passengers besides upgrading the power systems and putting 32 check-in counters with self-service kiosks, eight restaurants offering African, Indian and Chinese delicacies, additional passenger lounges including business lounges that have spa facilities, seven boarding bridges, automated baggage handling system and segregated departing and arriving passengers which will enhance security at the terminal. So far, 56 per cent of the work, that is expected to cost Sh9.4 billion, has been done.

Currently, JKIA handles 6.5 million passengers and 300 million kilogrammes of cargo annually. It is the home of Kenya Airways that flies over 57 destinations and one of the most successful airlines in Africa. It is estimated that passenger and cargo traffic will grow at an annual rate of 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

By 2020, the passenger numbers are expected to almost triple to 17.1 million and grow further to 35.3 million 10 years later. The airport is projected to contribute over 10 per cent of GDP through support of tourism, horticulture and other sectors.

Increasing the capacity of JKIA will unlock the country's suppressed growth and stimulate economic activities. It will be integral in enabling Kenya take advantage of its strategic geographical position as the hub of the East African region and contribute significantly to the attainment of Vision 2030.

In addition, plans are underway to renovate terminals 1, 2 and 3, which will start after terminal 4 is fully operational, at a cost of $93 million.

Ongoing work includes construction of remote stands for parking aircraft fitted with fuel hydrants and equipped with apron buses for ferrying passengers from the terminal building. Work started in March and so far, 45 per cent is complete.The remote stands are meant to decongest the airport.

The Kenya Airport Authority MD Stephen Gichuki says these expansion and upgrading work would improve the level of service, security and controlled access to international standards, thus taking advantage of JKIA's strategic location to make it the aviation hub of Africa.

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