JKIA passengers drop 58pc as cargo sees marginal growth


Terminal 1A at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Passenger numbers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) dropped by 58 percent in the financial year ending June 2021 as the sector continues to reel from the effects of Covid-19 variants.

Data from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), shows the number of passengers passing through the airport have dropped from 6.1 million in 2019/2020 fiscal year to 2.5 million in the last financial year.

On a positive note, cargo volumes grew by two percent on the back of an increase in shipment of fresh produce to the international market.

“The Covid-19 Delta variant has continued to present major challenges in certain major destination markets such as India, some countries in Europe and the Far East,” said KAA.

The aviation sector is yet to fully recover as travel restrictions put in place and the current wave of the Covid-19 has seen a decline in passenger demand with some of the countries in Europe restricting their citizens from traveling abroad.

However, there was a significant growth in June 2021 with JKIA numbers increasing to 284,506 from 6,813 in corresponding period last year buoyed by high number of visitors travelling to Kenya for summer holidays as Europe.

Aircraft movement over the same period increased to 5,649 from 1,593, while the amount of cargo handled increased by 27.4 percent to stand at 28,119,101.0 kilos recorded in the review period.

At the Moi International Airport in Mombasa the passenger numbers declined 45 percent from 1.1 million percent to 646,498 percent, highlighting the adverse effect that the Covid-19 has had on the tourism sector in Kenya’s major tourist hub.

Freight numbers have been picking up since October last year as demand for cargo transport across the world have been growing, partly boosted by the movement of Covid-19 vaccines.

“The cargo counter registered a growth of about 1.8 percent when compared to the traffic obtaining in 2019/2020. This was supported by enhanced demand for fresh produce and other consumables in destination markets as well as the conveyance of Covid-19 related supplies,” KAA said.

June normally records higher booking for airlines as travellers from western countries travel for summer holiday.