Why JKIA was ranked top in global cargo growth


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

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has attributed the top global ranking of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to increased air cargo traffic to and from Europe, Asia, America, China and Australia.

KAA said in a statement the increase in cargo passing through JKIA is making the facility a global force. "This is what has culminated in JKIA being an emerging force and destination in the air cargo industry," KAA director Jonny Andersen said in the statement.

He said the airport had registered steady transformation because of how air cargo is managed through “deliberate planning” and embracing of public and private sector participation.

JKIA was ranked the second fastest growing cargo airport in the world, with USA based Rockford Airport ranked at the top position. At the third position was Belgium Liege Airport, followed by Xi'An Airport in China and Philadelphia Airport in USA. According to Airports Council International (ACI) latest World Airport Traffic Report, JKIA came second after handling over 342,000 metric tonnes of air cargo in 2018, a 25 percent growth from what was reported in 2017. The report highlights top airports for passengers, cargo and aircraft movements and showcases the world’s fastest growing airports for 2018. Mr Andersen said in the last few years the JKIA increased its annual overall cargo to 1.2 million tonnes. This, he said was as a result of the entry of several modern transit sheds at the facility. Astral Aviation, a cargo airline operating from JKIA has in the last year acquired three Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft to boost its freight capacity and expand its network.

In the ACI report, the world’s top three airports for passenger traffic volume were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport and Dubai International Airport in that order. The top three retained their last performance positions with Los Angeles International Airport coming fourth in the list and Tokyo International Airport getting the fifth position.

The report states that, in total, the world’s airports accommodated 122.7 million metric tonnes of cargo, 8.8 billion passengers and 99.9 million aircraft movements.

Mr Andersen noted that Michaell Cotts, a leading cargo and logistics company, is currently also constructing it’s new shed at JKIA whose completion is expected to inject an additional annual capacity of 150,000 metric tons at the airport. “This award validates our ongoing efforts in improving facilities at the JKIA cargo area. I would like to congratulate all our stakeholders for their collective and ongoing efforts in making this possible,

“This is an exciting time for Kenya, the face of cargo is changing, and we are positioning JKIA as the premier cargo distribution center for online commerce companies in the region.” added Mr Andersen.

KAA which facilitates infrastructure for aviation services between Kenya and the outside world, currently runs four international airports, six domestic airports and nine airstrips.