Daily News  :: East Africa

Kenya looks toward the skies

Published: 19-DEC-06

Nairobi - The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has embarked on major rehabilitation and expansion works on aviation infrastructure at international and domestic airports, KAA chairman Erastus Mwongera announced here Tuesday.

Mwongera, while launching the works, noted that upgrading the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi), Moi International Airport (Mombasa) and Eldoret International Airport will cost government about 15 billion Kenya shillings ($215mn) over the next five years.

Domestic airports expected to benefit from the rehabilitation works include the Malindi and Kisumu airports and also the Nairobi-based Wilson airport.

He said that in line with investment in infrastructure, KAA was being empowered with globally acclaimed management practices.

Rehabilitation of infrastructure at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa would be accorded first priority to increase its capacity and air traffic, according to KAA managing director George Mohoho.

Muhoho said KAA would spend 140 million shillings on the Mombasa airport on projects, which include purchase of airport passenger seats, provision of flight information monitors, expansion of the road network and landscaping and construction of canopies for terminals 1 and 2.

"The refurbishment and rehabilitation of terminal 2 will increase handling capacity by 500,000 passengers," said Muhoho, who added that congestion at the airport would thereby be reduced.

The official observed that over the last four years, the Airport had experienced a 35 percent unprecedented growth in passenger traffic from 860,000 in 2002 to 1.16 million last year and a 75 percent growth in cargo from 6,000 tons to 10,000 over the same period.

Muhoho attributed the growth to the strong recovery of the tourism sector, which, he said, is projected to continue.

Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, who officiated at the launch of the refurbishment projects, said that the government was committed to ensure that all airports were improved to be at par with international aviation standards.

The minister noted that the refurbishment was also crucial to the success of the tourism industry, considering that Mombasa was a popular tourist destination.-panapress

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