The Sh55.5 billion terminal is part of the modernisation programme by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to ensure JKIA becomes a world class airport.
President Kenyatta said that the intention is to make JKIA the most convenient, comfortable and secure airport in Africa.
“The construction of this new Greenfield Terminal with a capacity to handle more than 20 million passengers and eventually a second runway that is planned for this airport, will enable Kenya attain her National Vision 2030 aspirations to be a middle income country,” he explained.
The two phased construction work is expected to be completed in 2016, and will ease congestion at the airport by meeting its current and future demand.
Once complete, the terminal will have 60 check-in positions, 32 air bridges and eight remote gates.
The terminal is also expected to have an automated baggage handling commercial retail centre. It will also have a railway station and enable alliances to use a single terminal.
It will also have a capacity to handle traffic of 3,133 international passengers in a typical peak hour; 2,403 transiting passengers in a typical peak hour and 845 domestic passengers in a typical peak hour.
“In addition to the increased passenger capacity, this Greenfield development will also increase our cargo handling capacity to cement Kenya’s position as the leading airport in terms of cargo throughput in Africa,” said the President.
To enhance that role and position, the President said that KAA plans to develop a Special Economic Zone within the airport area for the manufacture of goods that can be easily transported by air.
“I would like execution of these plans to be fast tracked,” he directed.
Kenyatta said that as part of this airport development, the road and rail infrastructure around it will be built or improved to ensure that users of the airport are able to access inexpensive, frequent and convenient means of transport to and from the airport.
The President also urged safety and security of all transport systems be secured at all times.
He directed the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to ensure that all encroachments around the airports and other strategic transport and infrastructure installations are removed.
“We are very well aware of the need for us to be alert and well prepared to repulse any eventuality, this is a matter the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and our security agencies should seriously contemplate and act on,” he said.
He said that his administration is keenly aware of the aviation infrastructure deficit that currently exists in Kenya, pointing out that without sufficient aviation infrastructure, the region will remain unexploited and expensive for commerce and business.
“My government will therefore remain committed towards improving the existing infrastructure and providing an efficient, conducive and enabling environment to facilitate Kenya Airways and other local airlines to invest in order to create wealth and empower our people,” he added.
He urged KAA to work closely with all carriers, including those from the region, to unlock the value of the investments being made in the airports.
He asked that KAA board and management to run the airport as a commercial hub guided by business principles underpinning competition.
“I expect you to ensure Kenya is the most attractive air transit hub on the continent, if not globally,” he said.
The president was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Michael Kamau among other senior government officials.
Figures from KAA indicate that the airport, which has an installed capacity of 2.5 million passengers, handles an average of 6.5 million passengers every year.
Traffic at the airport grows at a rate of 12 percent per annum and is expected to hit the 25 million mark by 2025.
Construction of the new terminal will be done by Anhui Civil Engineering Group together with China Aero Technology Engineering International Engineering Corporation (CATIC).