The Government is focused on upgrading and expanding aviation infrastructure for the development and growth of passenger numbers and cargo volumes. Most of the investment is centred on, but not exclusive to, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi, which is East Africa’s hub for airline operations.
JKIA was constructed in 1978 to serve about 2.5 million passengers annually but the capacity has been overshot several times over in subsequent years.
Total passengers handled at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) stood at 6.5 million passengers in 2015 up from 6.4 million passengers recorded in 2014. Domestic and international passengers handled at Moi International Airport (MIA) were 902,600 and 329,400 respectively, during the review period. The authority is currently expanding and modernising the existing facilities such as terminals to handle more passengers, including construction of a new Greenfield Terminal that will increase capacity to 20 million passengers. KAA is carrying out the expansion supported by the National Airports Master Plan of 1993.
The Kenya Airports Authority was established in 1991 as an independent State corporation through an Act of Parliament with overall responsibility of providing and managing airports in Kenya. Its mandate includes to administer, control and manage aerodromes, provide and maintain facilities necessary for efficient operations of aircrafts and to provide rescue and fire fighting equipment and services. It is also charged with constructing, operating and maintaining aerodromes and other related activities.
KAA manages four international airports – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Eldoret International Airport and Kisumu International Airport. The authority also manages four domestic airports, namely; Wilson, Malindi, Lokichoggio and Wajir airports, and three airstrips at Ukunda, Manda and Isiolo.
JKIA Upgrade and Expansion
The growing passenger cargo numbers at the JKIA call for intervention measures to meet the demand and provide for future growth and the investments at region’s aviation hub are some of the key activities under the Kenya Vision 2030 economic blueprint. The proposed interventions are geared towards enhancing capacity and increasing efficiency.
The JKIA put up the prefabricated Terminal 2 after the August 7, 2013 fire that damaged the passenger arrivals unit and other facilities. It was opened in May 2015.
The state-of-the-art terminal has capacity to handle 2.5 million passengers every year, pushing the airport’s capacity to 7.5 million passengers annually, compared to the estimated 6.5 million passengers who go through the airport annually.
It has international and domestic functions for both arriving and departing passengers, and is currently serving all flight operations by Fly540 Aviation, Fly-SAX, Juba Airways and African Express Airways.
Opening of the new terminal follows that of Terminal 1A in 2014, which is dedicated to the exclusive use of national carrier Kenya Airways and its partners.
KAA is also in the process of constructing Terminal 3 (formerly Greenfield Terminal), with an annual handling capacity of 20 million passengers. Its first phase is expected to be complete by 2018. The project will encompass construction of a four-level terminal building comprising a central processing area, a transit hotel, landside retail centres, arrivals and departures plaza. Ancillary facilities shall include an access road, car parking, access taxiways, ground service equipment and bus parking areas.
Under the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Upgrading and Rehabilitation Project, the expansion of facilities is financed by the European Union through the European Investment Bank and the French development agency, AFD.
Construction of the Sh56billion facility was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2013 and is being carried out by Anhui Civil Engineering Group and China Aero Technology Engineering International Corporation. It is expected to be completed in 2017.
III. Repair of Runway
The KAA is undertaking repair work on the worn tarmac to improve safety and increase efficiency. The 12-month project will also include refurbishment of the apron and pavement. The runway was last resurfaced in 1992.
Pressure on the runway will greatly reduce with the construction of a planned second runway at the airport.
Upgrading of Manda Airstrip
The airstrip in Lamu will now be able to accommodate large aircraft such as the Embraer 190 and the Boeing 737 after the expansion of the runway to two kilometres towards the end of 2015. Manda airstrip is an important facility as it is expected to handle increased air traffic once construction of Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor starts. It is an access point to the island for local and international tourists. Charter flights from Europe to Manda are expected to increase with the expansion.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) was established in October 2002 by the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act, 2002 with the primary functions of regulation and oversight of aviation safety and security, regulation of air services and development of civil aviation.
It is also charged with provision of air navigation services and training of aviation personnel as guided by the provisions of the convention on international civil aviation, related ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices, the Kenya Civil Aviation Act, 2013 and civil aviation regulations.
The mandate of KCAA is to plan, develop, manage, regulate and operate a safe, economically sustainable and efficient civil aviation system in Kenya, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Aviation Act, 2013. KCAA operates through four directorates, namely; Aviation Safety, Air Navigation Services, Corporate and East African School of Aviation.
Other planned projects
Construction of Nakuru Airport
KAA plans to put up the airport in conjunction with the County Government of Nakuru. The airport will be located on more than 500 acres near the Nakuru/Nairobi highway.
Expansion of Kakamega Airstrip
Plans are underway to extend the Kakamega Airstrip runway from 1.3 kilometres to two kilometres to accommodate larger aircrafts, as well as expand the terminal building to allow for the development of VIP facilities.
New flights at JKIA
China Southern Airlines
On August 5, 2015, China Southern Airlines made its maiden flight from Guangzhou to Nairobi, and launched a regular service between the two cities. Under a codeshare with Kenya Airways, China Southern Airlines has made it more convenient for passengers on transit between African countries and China, South East Asia, North East Asia and Oceania. The airline, China’s largest, will operate three flights per week on the route.
Lufthansa flies back
German airline Lufthansa resumed direct flights to Nairobi on October 25, 2015 after 18 years. The airline made a comeback to JKIA with direct flights to Frankfurt on code-shared flights with its partners, the Swiss and Brussels Airlines, to connect passengers to Nairobi.
- Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure www.transport.go.ke
- Kenya Economic Survey, 2014
- Kenya Economic Survey, 2015
- The National Treasury: Budget Policy Statement 2013/2014
- The National Treasury: Budget Statement 2013/2014
- The National Treasury: Budget Statement 2014/2015
- Sessional Paper No.5, 2006: Development and Management of the Road Sub-sector for Sustainable Economic Growth and Kenya Vision 2030
- Kenya Roads Act, 2007
- Kenya Roads Board www.krb.go.ke
- Kenya National Highways Authority www.kenha.co.ke
- Kenya Urban Roads Authority www.kura.go.ke
- Kenya Rural Roads Authority www.kerra.go.ke
- Kenya Ports Authority www.kpa.co.ke
- Kenya Airports Authority www.kaa.go.ke
- African Development Bank: JKIA Greenfield Terminal Environment Impact Assessment Summary
- European Union: JKIA Upgrading and Rehabilitation Project Status Report
- Kenya Civil Aviation Authority www.kcaa.or.ke
- Kenya Railways Corporation www.krc.co.ke
- The People Daily www.mediamaxnetwork.co.ke
- Uchukuzi Magazine www.transport.go.ke