Game changer at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta will follow in the footsteps of his late father, Founder President Jomo Kenyatta, when he will formally launch the two new arrival facilities at Kenya’s largest airport. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was named after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s late father, who had opened the facility when passenger handling in early 1978 shifted from the old Embakasi Airport to the then brand-new facility.

When a fire destroyed the entire arrivals complex, the stage was set for a major rebuilding of JKIA and the opening last year of the sparkling new Terminal 1A, home to national airline, Kenya Airways, and its alliance partners from SkyTeam, set the ball rolling.

In the meantime, renovation, upgrading, and expansion work has gone into overdrive to modernize the former Terminals 2 and 3, but most important, two new arrival terminals were added which separate the flow of inbound and outbound passengers.

This is one of the prerequisites for recognition of JKIA by the American FAA to attain Category One status, under which direct and nonstop flights can finally be launched from Kenya to the USA.

A new FAA audit team will carry out an inspection of the airport in April when it is widely expected to give JKIA sufficient pass marks to qualify for Cat 1 status, after the new buildings incorporated the latest designs and requirements that ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, demands of member states.

Also in the making are legislative and regulatory amendments to bring Kenya in line with other relevant ICAO recommendations and requirements, giving hope to Kenya’s tourism and business communities that flights from Nairobi to the US are rapidly becoming a reality.

The Kenyan team at ITB 2016, led by Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, will no doubt see this development as a boost to their cause to promote Kenya to the rest of the world, as tourists can expect better facilities when they arrive in Nairobi as arrivals will begin to gradually shift out of the parking garage set up which was established after the fire.

Congratulations to the Kenya Airport Authority for the timely completion of this part of the ongoing works which aim to transform JKIA by 2018/19 into a truly world-class aviation facility.