Treasury, AfDB to start talks on funding of second JKIA runway

A KQ plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A KQ plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are expected to meet next week to discuss the financing of the second runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

This marks a major step in the expansion of the airport whose sole runway has led to delays in takeoffs and landing of planes.

Head of Finance at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Alex Gitari said the meeting is meant to discuss the amount of money that afDB will give as loan for the expansion project.

“The Treasury will be meeting with afDB bank, which is funding the project to discuss the financing element of the second runway,” said Mr Gitari, who is holding brief for the substantive head.

Mr Gitari said the project is expected to start in the second half of 2018. However, this will depend on whether the funding will have been approved.

KAA had reported in 2016 that the construction was to start this year and it had been estimated to cost Sh37 billion.

The new runway will be larger than the current one and it will increase the movement of planes from the current 25 to 45, minimising delays caused by mishaps on the landing path.

Some of the technology that will come with the new runway includes putting the fog lights right on the landing path. Currently, the runway is only lit on the sides.

In bad weather, planes have to be diverted to alternative airports such as Moi International Airport or Entebbe International Airport as they cannot be allowed to land at the JKIA for safety reasons.

The new runway, according to KAA, will meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Category II, which will enable operations in bad weather, thus avoiding diversion of aircrafts.

The proposed design is for a 4,800m long and 75m wide runway, including the shoulders. The current runway is 60 metres wide and 4.2 kilometres long.

Kenya scrapped plans for a new terminal at the JKIA due to financial pressures and excess capacity caused by recent upgrades to existing facilities.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Sh69 billion terminal in December 2013 to position the airport as the aviation gateway for the region.