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AfDB approves funding for JKIA’s second runway

Kenya Airports Authority is set to receive funding from a regional development bank to conduct research and design for the construction of a second runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved Sh256.43 million for a runway design study and airports operational management study to start in October 2014.

The money will be released together with Sh10 billion advanced to the country to fund upgrade of the 13-kilometre Outer Ring Road, Nairobi.

“The design study for the second runway at JKIA and the other related study were basically added to address recent challenges experienced by the airport and, partly, to help KAA prepare for the building of the runway,” read part of a statement from AfDB.

JKIA is recovering from damages caused by a fire that gutted the arrival terminal, causing the airport to close temporarily.

AfDB added that construction of the second runway was “increasingly becoming a necessity” given Kenya’s ambitions to position JKIA as a world-class aviation hub.

KAA has been mulling over building a second runway in recent years, but the plan has yet to take off.

However, the great need for the facility was made clear last year when an Egypt Air flight veered off the single runway, causing a temporary shutdown of the airport.

Recently, Kenyan authorities found themselves scrambling to accommodate flights at existing facilities in the airport following a fire in August that gutted one of JKIA’s units.

A new operations management system would increase efficiency at the airport and better position it to compete with other regional hubs in Ethiopia and South Africa.

AfDB, in an October feasibility report of the project, said that the airports authority staff would be trained in running the new operations management system once the study is completed.

Expansion plans

Both these projects feed into wider expansion plans for JKIA. In coming months, the airport’s capacity is expected to increase by 2.5 million passengers with the completion of Unit Four.

Next year, unit one, two and three are also expected to undergo refurbishment.

The heart of these expansionary ambitions is the Greenfield airport project, which is expected to cost about Sh57 billion and to handle about 12.5 million passengers per year.

JKIA currently handles about 6 .5 million passengers per year against an installed capacity of 2.5 million passengers.