, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) on Wednesday signed an agreement with the French Development Agency for Sh6.9 billion ($93million) to be used for the upgrading of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Managing Director George Muhoho told reporters that the deal would pave way for construction of Terminal Four and a multi-storey car park which marks the beginning of the second phase of the airport modernisation exercise.
Once the funds were released the contractor, China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Company which won the tender in September last year will begin the construction immediately.
The modernisation exercise of the busiest airport in East Africa, which was initially projected to cost Sh10 billion, begun in 2006 with phase one involving construction of the aircrafts parking space at a cost of Sh3 billion.
Mr Muhoho, whose term expires in April said they would issue tenders for phase three of the project for the upgrading of Units 1, 2 and 3 in the next two months.
“We have been given a loan to the tune of $93 million (Sh6.9billion) by the European Investment Bank and that is adequate for that project. So there is nothing standing in the way, it’s just the implementation,” he assured.
Mr Muhoho also said the refurbishment of the other airports such as Kisumu, Wajir, Mombasa and Malindi was ongoing with some of the projects already completed.
He however regretted that not all projects came to fruition during his tenure but was quick to add that he was proud of his achievement at the Authority.
“I would have liked to see these projects gone but gestation period take a long time. I would have wanted to see Isiolo as an international airport but things cannot all happen at the same time,” he said while defending his record at the helm of the parastatal where he has served for seven years.
Although at times his tenure was riddled with controversy for example when his critics accused him of corruption when KAA signed an agreement to provide a 90 acre piece of land to Qatari investors, the parastatal has recorded improved performance during the time he’s been in office.
For instance, the number of passengers using the JKIA went up by 1.5 million. Last year the airport handled 4.9 million and so has the cargo handling business which has now seen JKIA overtake Johannesburg and Cairo as the number cargo hub.
Mr Muhoho spoke during the ground breaking ceremony of Jetlink’s Express hangar and office complex which is estimated to cost Sh174 million.
Jetlink Managing Director Capt. Elly Aluvale said once the complex which should be completed in 57 weeks is in operation, it would save the airline millions of shillings that is spent in rent and leasing of hangar space.
“Having our own hangar and office complex will guarantee us many benefits including minimizing the maintenance time of our aircrafts to the proximity to our operating hub,” said Mr Aluvale.