Nairobi — The World Bank has approved Sh17.7 billion additional financing for the emergency reconstruction of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which suffered a major fire disaster in August last year.
The new funding will not only support urgent repairs but also the ongoing expansion works at the airport.
The massive inferno destroyed the international arrivals terminal and caused major flight disruptions at Kenya's largest airport, which is also East Africa's busiest air transport and tourism hub.
Although domestic and international flight operations were quickly restored, some passenger services are being handled from temporary terminals.
Under the new funding, a new temporary international passenger arrivals terminal will be installed and terminal 4, which is under construction with the bank's funding, will be expanded to include permanent facilities for an international arrivals lounge.
"The additional financing will support the government to restore operations at Kenya's premier international airport and also to improve the preparedness of the Kenya Airports Authority to respond to disasters such last year's fire emergency," World Bank Country Director Diarietou Gaye said.
The funds will be channeled through the Kenya Transport Sector Support Project (KTSSP) which will increase the total bank financing for KTSSP so far to Sh43.7 billion.
Meanwhile under KTSSP, the government plans to upgrade major sections of the Northern Corridor, which runs from Mombasa through Nairobi to the Kenya-Uganda border, and the Western Corridor, which extends from Kenya's border with Northern Tanzania through Kisumu, Eldoret and Kitale to the South Sudan border.
"Apart from expansion plan underway at JKIA, the scope of the project will be expanded to include activities that will enhance the safety of pedestrians and other road users on the Northern and Western corridors, " KTSSP Team Leader Josphat Sasia said while commenting on the funding.
The emergency and original project activities under KTSSP are being funded by the government and the Bank in partnership with other development partners, including the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Investment Bank.