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New KAA boss takes over helm amidst airports expansion binge

The JKIA: The Kenya Airports Authority had been without a substantive head for more than a year. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
The JKIA: The Kenya Airports Authority had been without a substantive head for more than a year. Inset: new MD Jonny Andersen. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU. Inset photo: COURTESY | LINKEDIN 

Jonny Andersen, the new Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director has officially taken office following his appointment in July.

The Norwegian national takes office four months after his appointment by Transport cabinet secretary James Macharia, taking over from Nicholas Bodo who has been heading the authority in an acting capacity since July 2016.

"With its strategic geographical location, Kenya is an ideal gateway into the continent, and a regional aviation hub. I look forward to harnessing this potential to build prosperity for the authority and the country as a whole," Mr Andersen said Monday.

"We aim to not only provide bespoke infrastructure for the aviation industry, but also, from a commercial point of view, to efficiently deliver safe and secure aviation services for the country into the future,” he added during a handover ceremony.

The KAA had been without a substantive head for more than a year following the sacking of then managing director Lucy Mbugua on corruption allegations.

His ascent to the helm of the airports body comes after a search to replace Ms Mbugua had been bungled several times due to alleged corruption and political interference.

A career aviation expert, the new MD was director of national airports at Avinor AS, a State-owned firm that manages airports in Norway, with responsibility over seven State-owned airport hubs.

His over 21-year career in the industry has seen him work in various airports in Norway, Denmark and Latvia.

Expansion drive

Mr Andersen also takes over at a time when the KAA is on an airport expansion binge, with the government keen on linking the capital to other counties as well as connecting Kenya to international markets.

The Treasury had this year allocated Sh800 million towards upgrading Malindi airport, Isiolo airport, Lokichogio airport and Suneka airstrip.



Isiolo Airport undergoes final touches. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET
Isiolo Airport undergoes final touches. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET

The State is also planning to establish ports in Mandera and Suneka, which will eventually bring the total number of Kenya's airports to 10.

Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich has previously indicated that the State plans to expand Eldoret International Airport to facilitate large cargo planes.

Malindi Airport is also set for a Sh5.6 billion facelift to lift the port to international status as the government moves to boost tourism.

dwainainah@ke.nationmedia.com, lmukami@ke.nationmedia.com

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