Rehabilitation work on three more terminals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi will begin by June next near, raising the capacity of the airport by an additional five million passengers once compete.
Transport secretary James Macharia said on Monday that once revamped, the airport will be able to handle 12.5 million passengers a year.
The Kenya Airports Authority has already completed the rehabilitation of terminal 1A, which is currently used by the Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ and its Sky Team Alliance partners.
“The detailed designs for the rehabilitation of the existing terminals 1B, 1C and 1D are expected to be completed in the next few months with actual construction work commencing by the end of the financial year,” said Mr Macharia.
“The rehabilitation is expected to increase the capacity of the facility by an additional five million passengers per year, taking the total airport capacity to 12.5 million.”
He said the additional capacity and improvement of facilities at the airport will support the expected growth of traffic at the facility with the launch of direct flights to the US, which should begin by June next year.
He added that the government is in talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for financing to construct a second runway at JKIA.
Capacity on the existing one is almost at 90 per cent, which causes delays and flight cancellations whenever there are plane mishaps on the runway.
KAA plans to start the work in the second half of next year, should the funds become available.
The authority had in 2016 estimated that the new runway would cost Sh37 billion. The proposed design calls for a 4,800m long and 75m wide runway, including the shoulders, enabling it to handle the largest airplanes in service such as the Airbus A380 and the Being 747-800.
The existing runway is 60 metres wide and 4.2 kilometres long.
The new runway will also increase the movement of aircraft from 25 to 45 per hour.
Kenya’s aviation sector contributes about 10 per cent of GDP, through facilitation of trade, travel, investment and creation of jobs.
Kenya had earlier planned to put up a new terminal, dubbed the Greenfield Terminal, but the plans were scrapped due to financial pressure and the fact that upgrades to the existing facility were bringing in sufficient capacity.