THE new Jomo Kenyatta International Airport parking area will be converted to a temporary international arrivals terminal to move passengers from the tents being used currently as makeshift lounges.
Touring the airport yesterday, Principal Secretary for the Transport Ministry Nduva Muli said the airport operations are now at 100 per cent adding that the priority now is to ensure comfort for passengers. The temporary terminal, he said, will be ready for use by end September to be used for three months as cost analysis and repair plans are being done following the August 7 fire that destroyed the international arrivals area.
The four-storey parking lot was still under construction by the time of the fire and now temporary structures and stalls will be built in some of its floors to house international passengers' operations. "We obviously want to get passengers out of the tented environment," said Muli.
The ground floor of the unfinished parking lot will temporarily house immigration counters, washrooms and ministry of health offices and a baggage collection area. The topmost floor of the parking area will house airline offices. It has space for 32 makeshift offices.
Muli said the procurement process for various works on the allocated sites within the parking building is ongoing. Fifty per cent of the works needed for its conversion into a passenger area have been completed, he said.
The airport management has also started surveying part of unit two used for international departures, with an intention to open up some boarding gates for use by Kenya Airways. The gates will be opened by Wednesday, the PS said, after thorough structural security and safety checks by relevant bodies.
National Environmental Management Authority and Kenya Power are among institutions that are checking out the undamaged part of the airport building to give reassurance that they are suitable for use before KQ is allowed to use part of the building.
The international departure side, which is connected to the international arrivals side that bore the brunt of the fire, remains largely undamaged."This will allow passengers who are departing on international flights to come in normally," said Muli. KQ chief executive Titus Naikuni said the airline operations are now back to normal at full capacity. "On Saturday we had 11,900 passengers while on Sunday we carried 12,960 passengers," said Naikuni.