Kenya is proud to be the home of one of Africa’s largest and best airports, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). However, with the development trend the world and the country is taking, the airport is likely to be overwhelmed.

Kenya has been known for tourism. It’s a leader in the sector with so much to show the world. One of the country’s main income earners is the tourism sector. The airport is a main gateway into the country for tourists. In a 10 point plan unveiled by the Cabinet secretary for Tourism, Commerce and East Africa, Mrs. Phyllis Kandie, she pointed that she would ensure that the sector delivers 3 million tourist arrivals by 2017.With increased entry of tourists expected, the airport if not expanded is more likely to be beleaguered . In 2006, the airport handled in excess of 4.4 million passengers as opposed to its designed capacity of 2.5 million passengers an year.

Kenya’s largest flight operator, Kenya Airways last month echoed concerns on their extra expenditure they have to incur to fly some of their flights to Mombasa or neighboring Tanzania for parking. This is alarming considering that the operator intends to increase its fleet with some expected to come in next year.

In March last year, the airport announced that five international carriers were expected to start using the airport raising concerns on congestion. Among those announced to start operations were Etihad, Air Dubai, Royal Air Maroc and Air Malawi.

Kenya is in talks with the United Arab Emirates to introduce direct flights between the two countries. The flight will ease buying of goods from the UAE by local traders and enable more tourists in the region to visit Kenya.
Expansion plans are however in progress and they include doubling the current size of JKIA from 25,662m² to 55,222m² with the new Terminal 4 building. Aircraft parking will be handled by increasing the apron space from 200,000m² to over 300,000m², and additional taxiways will be constructed.

The cabinet Secretary, Eng.S.Kamau said the attempt to modernize JKIA is at advanced stages. He adds that this will boost trade and the capacity to handle more travelers in a statement following his trip to Abu Dhabi.


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Kenya Engineer is the definitive publication of Engineers in East Africa & beyond and the official journal of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. Kenya Engineer has been in publication since 1972.

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