Construction of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's much needed second runway is set to begin in November this year after Kenyan Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary, Michael Kamau, gave the go ahead to ensure that the project is completed by 2017.
|Original proposal for JKIA runway 06R/24L (bottom track)|
Owing to Nairobi's "Hot & High" status, the new track will measure some 5'500m and is set to run parallel to the present 4'117m-long runway 06/24. Overall, it is expected to cost USD147million (KES12.8billion).
The added runway has been rendered critical to JKIA's expansion and Kenya Airways' (KQ) longterm growth strategy. At the moment JKIA handles 6.5 million passengers and 300 million kilogrammes of cargo annually. It is estimated that passenger and cargo traffic grow at an annual rate of 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
According to Mr Simon Githaiga, the manager of JKIA, a second runway is critical for the future development and expansion of the airport as it transforms into an aviation hub for the region: it will not only come with auxiliary infrastructure, such as new terminal buildings and cargo handling facilities, but will also ensure the smooth operation of the airport should the current runway be rendered unusable in the event of an aircraft suffering a mechanical or technical failure as was the case with an Egyptair A320 last year.
“We have also witnessed increased interest from existing airlines that seek to add frequencies into Nairobi and new airlines that are seeking landing rights into the airport,‘ said Mr Githaiga. “Some other airlines have even inquired about landing the Airbus A380 at JKIA and it is some of these factors that are guiding us towards the next expansion phase of the airport once the ongoing expansion programme is complete.”
By 2020, JKIA expects to handle almost 17.1 million pax/annum, with growth expected to accelerate to 35.3million by 2030.