Kenya Airports Authority: Developing key economic channels through aviation growth

The increase in passenger activity in the global aerospace industry is keenly felt everywhere and has given rise to increased competition, putting service levels sharply into focus for airports.

So far 2015 has been a hectic year for Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), the entity which provides facilitative infrastructure for aviation services between Kenya and the outside world.

11402480_824077064349585_1731454420216388723_o“Our, focus is on greater efficiency, superior quality service and increased capacity in all the Kenyan Airports. We work closely with other government agencies and department, most notably the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), which is responsible for air navigation regulation,” states the corporate website.

In May of this year, news came through that the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s new Terminal 2 had officially opened.

In a press release, the organisation said:

“The state-of-the-art prefabricated terminal that has capacity to handle 2.5 million passengers every year, grants sufficient capacity to JKIA to handle current demand. The terminal’s additional capacity brings JKIA’s capacity to 7.5 million passengers annually, compared to the estimated 6.5 million passengers who go through the airport annually.

“Speaking on the launch of the new terminal, acting Managing Director at Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Yatich Kangugo, noted that the commissioning of the facility is a huge milestone in efforts towards expansion and modernization of JKIA.

““The launch and coming to stream of this new Terminal 2 will significantly ease congestion at JKIA and deliver a better experience to passengers travelling through the airport. The additional capacity will also enhance JKIA’s capacity to effectively play its role as the gateway into the region,” Mr Kangugo added.

“The new Terminal, which has international and domestic functions for both arriving and departing passengers, is currently serving all flight operations by Fly540 Aviation, Fly-SAX, Juba Airways and African Express Airways.

“Besides Terminal 2, and as part of the expansion and modernization of JKIA, KAA is also in the process of constructing Terminal 3 (formerly Greenfield Terminal), with an annual handling capacity of 20 million passengers. Its first phase is expected to be complete by 2018. Terminal 1A that is dedicated to the exclusive use of national carrier Kenya Airways and its partners began operations last year.

The expansion and modernization of JKIA has been designated as a flagship project in Vision 2030, Kenya’s long term economic development blueprint.”

Certainly the opening of the new terminal can be construed as major progress for KAA, which was established in 1991 under KAA Act, Chapter 395 of the Laws of Kenya, provides facilitative infrastructure for aviation services between Kenya and the outside world.

The organisation has a number of functions and among its many tasks are the expectation to: administer, control and manage aerodromes; provide and maintain facilities necessary for efficient operations of aircrafts; provide rescue and fire fighting equipment and services; construct, operate and maintain aerodromes and other related activities; construct or maintain aerodromes on an agency basis on the request of any Government Department; provide such other amenities or facilities for passengers and other persons making use of the services or facilities provided by the Authority as may appear to the Board necessary or desirable; and approve the establishment of private airstrips and control of operations thereof.

As part of its mandate, KAA is responsible for the management of 4 international airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport; Moi International Airport; Eldoret International Airport and Kisumu Airport. In addition there are 4 regional airports: Wilson Airport; Malindi Airport; Lokichoggio Airport and WajirAirport, plus a number of airstrips.

Of course working with international bodies is part and parcel of running an international airport and last November, KAA announced that AgenceFrançaise de Développment (AFD) was providing 66Million USD for rehabilitating Mombasa Airport’s air side pavements including airfield ground lighting and up-grading of power and water supply.

10448529_822684631155495_985859693008957474_oThe AFD (French Agency for Development) Regional Director , Mr Yves Boudot and the Managing Director of Kenya Airports Authority(KAA) Ms. Lucy Mbugua together with KAA Board Chairman, Prof. Mutuma Mugambi and the French Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Mr Rémi Marechaux signed a 66 Million USD financing agreement for the rehabilitation of Mombasa International Airport.

Alongside overall funding for the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), AFD formally granted a 66 Million USD non sovereign loan to support the rehabilitation of Mombasa Airport’s air side pavements including airfield ground lighting and up-grading of power and water supply. AFD loan will also be used to provide environmental and social enhancement measures. The project aims to improve the quality and the safety and to reduce the maintenance cost of Mombasa Airport.

Moi international Airport (Mombasa) is the second largest airport in Kenya. The airport has recorded a significant growth of traffic over the last 30 years. More than eighteen airlines (charter and scheduled) serve directly to and from Europe, and offer connections to more than twenty cities in the region.

Mombasa and the Coastal region are renowned tourist destinations. More than one million tourists visit the coastal region of Kenya annually. The city is also a commercial and business platform among the largest East African Community with the port of Mombasa being the hub port of the region. Moreover, improving air connection between Mombasa and Nairobi is key to providing an alternative to road travel.

The Managing Director stated “KAA as an agency of the Government must continually develop our country’s aviation infrastructure to not only cope with demand and capacity constraints but serve as a catalyst for the country’s economic prosperity by adequately serving all our customers at world class standards. Indeed the reason why we are here today is to sign these important financial agreements which will enable us to fulfill our mandate of developing the aviation sector.”

The AFD Regional Director said: “Through the financing of the rehabilitation of Mombasa International Airport, AFD intends to contribute to Kenya’s and the EAC economic growth and to enhance competitiveness advantage of the region. In Kenya, air transport is a key issue for channelling hard currencies coming from tourism and high-value exports for perishable goods, e.g. flowers and vegetables. This project will be the second AFD intervention in civil aviation in Kenya: a first financing agreement was signed in June 2010 with KAA for 93 Million USD the construction of the new Terminal 4 at JKIA.”

The civil aviation sector plays a major role in Kenya, both for the integration of the Kenyan economy in East Africa (strategy “hub”) and its integration into the international economy, and for the development of international tourism and exports, particularly horticultural products.

Operating a country’s major airports is a big responsibility and has a huge potential impact on the economy. There have been plenty of challenges along the way for KAA, but the organisation is working hard to develop Kenya as an important hub not just in East Africa but across the whole Continent.

The final word is left to KAA through its website, as it acknowledges the need for change:

“In its brief period of existence, Kenya Airports Authority has undergone tremendous structural changes intended to make the organization a result-driven and customer focused establishment. Currently, the Authority is undertaking major projects to improve existing aerodromes in the country as well as build new ones to cater for growth in key sectors of the economy such as tourism, horticulture, and trade.”