Airlines protest delayed works on JKIA’s departure terminal


Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Delays in completion of international departure terminals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are taking a toll on airlines due to occasional congestions at the facility, which has seen passengers miss connecting flights.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) started refurbishment of terminals 1B and C at the JKIA in January last year with the agency giving a commitment of completing the exercise in 12 months’ time.

Kenya Airways is one of the airlines that has raised concern over the delays occasioned by the long closure of these terminals, saying it has inconvenienced its departure time at the facility due to the slow processing of passengers.

“The delayed completion of terminals 1B and C is causing a lot of congestion at terminal 1A and long queues during peak time,” said Allan Kilavuka, the chief executive of KQ as the national carrier is known by its international code.

The delays have seen a number of passengers with connecting flights in other airports miss their trips as they arrive late at their next point of departure.

Currently, departing international passengers who would previously use the affected terminals go to Terminal A, creating congestion at the facility given the high number of airlines that have now been combined at the gate.

KAA managing director Alex Gitari did not respond to the Business Daily enquiries by the time of going to press.

KAA said last week that the number of passengers using the facility had grown significantly as the aviation sector returns to normalcy after the disruption caused by the Covid-19 menace in 2020.

An increase in traffic at the airport means that it is taking longer to process passengers before they get to board.

JKIA remains a major regional hub where transit passengers use the facility to connect flights to either US, Britain, or the Middle East.

The Sh936 million renovation programme by KAA on these terminals is meant to enhance security screening at the facility.

The refurbishment of the departure halls at the two terminals is also aimed at improving the check-in activity and enhancing the passenger lounge experience for the customers using the airport.

Its completion will also ease passenger flow and increase efficiency due to the centralisation of security screening procedures and the reallocation of available floor spaces to international departure gates.

KAA has in recent years cancelled a number of projects including the construction of a second runway and the Green Field terminal.

JKIA, Kenya’s main airport, is a major hub for passengers connecting to Europe and America among other destinations.

Kenya’s delay with the expansion of JKIA comes at a time when regional countries are revamping their airport infrastructure as they position themselves to attract global airlines.

Expansion of Tanzania’s main airport is currently on course, a project likely to reduce Dar es Salaam’s reliance on Nairobi for transit flights by some of the European airlines.

Kigali in Rwanda and Bole Airport in Addis Ababa have also been undergoing a facelift as they seek to become a major regional hub.

[email protected]