Kenya airport refurbishments underway

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Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will begin refurbishments after approval to finance the construction of an interim terminal.

An airport fire in Nairobi in August severely damaged the country’s arrivals terminal, but a 2.3 billion shilling interim terminal will be constructed in the interim. The financing, which was approved by the African Development Bank, is expected to boost Kenya’s aviation sector.

“Nairobi is the home of Kenya Airways, and Kenya Airways has in the past few years had an aggressive development of increasing the fleet and also increasing its reach around the world,” Hilary Kioko, director general of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, told CNBC Africa.

“This move by Kenya Airways to develop and reach every city in Africa is the basis for the growing hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This requires the development of facilities and also increased facilitation for the flying public.”

The construction plans are on the back of national carrier Kenya Airways’ announcement to beef up its fleet with the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

“The fire was not caused by a security-related issue, but it was actually an electrical fault. A fire having occurred certainly disrupted the operations of the airport some hours. We were able to pick up within the day and resume flights, initially in temporary facilities. [These] involved relocating the domestic terminal to another area and bringing in other facilities in terms of tents,”Kioko explained.

The temporary facilities were soon replaced with the refurbishment of another facility as a short-term arrivals terminal. The Kenya Airport Authority will also be investing in new terminals as well as refurbishing existing.

“We will proceed in the near future with a green terminal. This terminal, plus the refurbishments that will be done to the existing terminals, will have a capacity of 40 million passengers per annum. This will increase the base and hub in Nairobi to be able to cater for the rest of Africa,” said Kioko.