A decision on whether construction of the second runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) will proceed will be known in the next six weeks, amid claims that the project has been cancelled.
Transport secretary James Macharia said key stakeholders have been meeting to make a decision on the viability of the project.
Mr Macharia said a loan facility from the African Development Fund (AfDB), which is funding the project, was still in place. The bank approved a Sh16 billion loan in November last year with the government required to top up the 20 per cent of the total cost. “In the next six weeks the decision will be out on whether we shall continue with the construction of the second runway at JKIA, we are still engaging in strategic discussions over the project,” said Mr Macharia in an interview.
He could neither confirm nor deny whether the project had been cancelled, only saying that the outcome of its fate will be known in a couple of weeks.
The construction was supposed to start in the current quarter and tenders had already been floated, with over 50 firms bidding.
The government argues that construction of a second runway is a heavy investment project and wants to be sure if there is value for money before embarking on the development.
In February, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) announced that the cost of the airport had been revised downwards from Sh37 billion to Sh21.9 billion. If cancelled, this will mark the second major project to be abandoned at JKIA after cancellation of the Green Field Terminal in 2016.
The Transport ministry said in March 2016 that the quashing of the plan was informed by findings that the terminal would yield little value for money and that the funds would be better used in building a second runway.
The delay of the expansion of JKIA comes at a time when regional countries are revamping their airport infrastructure as they position themselves to attract global airlines.
Authorities in Tanzania have announced that construction of a new passenger terminal at the Julius Nyerere International Airport will be completed in June 2019.
The Sh30.27 billion project has been delayed over a funding hitch after President John Magufuli questioned its cost and implementation timeframe in February last year.