The Kenya Airport Authority overnight released a series of pictures, showcasing their brand new Terminal 1A, which is adding, when fully operational, a further capacity to handle over 2.5 million passengers a year through East Africa’s largest airport.
Opened in 1978 by Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta, the new airport at the time took over from Embakasi Airport, which was then turned into the headquarters of national airline Kenya Airways. Initially planned to cater to up to 2.5 million passengers, this number was exceeded nearly threefold last year and the opening of the new terminal building, again when fully operational, will not only de-congest the airport, but also allow for the gradual refurbishment and upgrade of former international units 1 and 2, recently renamed as Terminal 1B and 1C, before commencing work on the domestic terminal, formerly named Unit 3 and now known as Terminal 1D.
The fire-damaged arrivals section of the airport is also due to be completely reconstructed, though the work for has not yet commenced at this time.
Under construction is an additional temporary terminal building, with a projected lifespan of between 10 – 15 years, which will come on line later this year to add a further capacity boost of about 2.5 million passengers.
These developments will also finally separate passenger streams and prevent arriving and departing passengers meeting, other than through glass partitions, paving the way for the long hoped for recognition by the American FAA for Cat 1 status, which will allow for direct flights between the US and Kenya, greatly easing connectivity and thought to boost tourism and trade immensely.
Trial runs are now underway, as reported here a few days ago, with Kenya Airways having stepped up to share the trial challenges with KAA and from August onwards, the date is yet to be confirmed, flights will be progressively checked in at the new terminal building until full functionality has been reached in a few months’ time. Check in at the 32 service counters will be largely supported by automated check in machines where passengers will insert their passport for identification, up to the printing of boarding passes, before delivering the baggage at the counter for labeling.
7 new boarding bridges linked to the new terminal are supplemented by dozens of additional aircraft parking spaces on the apron, where passengers can also board after being bussed to the aircraft and the number of scanners for hand baggage and travelers, besides being state of the art machines, are also finally sufficient to prevent the often very long queues regularly witnessed at the old terminal buildings.
Finally, the gate lounges, shopping and food outlets and airline lounges will offer passengers once again a feeling of space, making regular users of JKIA happy to escape the congestion and hustle of the old concourse.
Good news at last for the passengers, Kenya Airways and dozens of other airlines flying in and out of JKIA in Nairobi, that relief is now within reach, making working conditions better for staff, and check-in and arrival more efficient for passengers.