Kenyan Government Approves Major Facelift for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Boost Capacity and Global Competitiveness

The Kenyan government has approved a multimillion-dollar facelift project for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), one of Africa’s largest airports. This major renovation will include a new terminal designed to handle 20 million passengers annually, as part of the airport’s Medium Term Investment Plan spanning three years. The plan aims to increase capacity, enhance service standards, and improve global competitiveness. Significant upgrades include expanding runways and aircraft parking, which will help alleviate congestion and enhance safety. By 2040, the number of parking bays is expected to grow from nine to 21, and cargo throughput is projected to reach 741,000 tonnes.

This facelift is crucial given the current pressures on JKIA, which serves as Kenya’s main airport and a major gateway for East and Central Africa. The expansion will provide more space for passengers and support Kenya Airways in increasing its destinations. Transport Principal Secretary Mohamed Daghar emphasized the project’s importance for tourism, business, and cultural exchange, and highlighted that air traffic is expected to grow by 4% annually, reaching 42.1 million passengers by 2050.

JKIA currently processes 35 aircraft per hour and handles over 8 million passengers annually, controlling 80% of network passengers and 90% of cargo business in the region. The airport’s strategic location makes it a key entry point into Africa. In early February, airport general manager Selina Gor revealed plans for a special terminal dedicated to VIPs and premium clientele lounges. The National Aviation Policy, approved by the Cabinet on June 12th, aims to maximize the aviation sector’s contribution to Kenya’s growth.

Additionally, the Kenyan government has other significant projects planned, including the New Nairobi Airport. Secured with funds from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Washington DC, this project aims to attract more international passengers, especially from the US, UK, and the Middle East, bolstering Nairobi’s status as a regional aviation hub.

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