NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Some 617,000 aviations jobs have been created in the country between 2015 and 2016, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has reported.
The increase has been attributed to a continued growth of businesses within Kenyan airports which has in turn created direct and indirect aviation jobs.
“An increase in businesses at airports’ airside has a corresponding effect on the number of business which end up being established at the landside (land lying immediately outside airport land),” reads a statement from the KCAA.
Additionally, safety concerns have spurred growth of aviation jobs as more and more people opt to fly.
The information was presented to UN agencies International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO and HABITAT on Tuesday during a three-day meeting at the UN Complex at Gigiri which was called to discuss the promotion of synergy between airports and sustainable urban development.
The data comes at a time when airports around the world are evolving to airport cities, aerotropolises, which come with large-scale airport infrastructure to handle aircraft movement, passenger and cargo traffic.
The meeting also highlighted opportunities that could spur further growth. For instance, the development of other infrastructure in and around airports including hospitals within three kilometres as stipulated by ICAO, hotels, and other modes of transport like road and rail networks would be key drivers in job creation.
More heliports could also be established within the Nairobi to ease VIP travel as the case of Rio in Brazil, which recently benefitted from over 300 heliports across the city during the just concluded Olympics.
This is despite the challenges facing the industry.
For instance, the growth in big populations within cities and around airports has led to the problem of solid waste management.
“When a dumpsite is near an airport, it immediately creates a hazard to aircraft because of the birds that fly around there,” says KCAA Director General, Captain Gilbert Kibe.
According to Kibe, this is because aircraft flying at high speed could collide with the birds and be sucked into the aircraft’s engine leading to loses in millions of shillings on repair of damaged engine parts.
“In the worst scenario, the bird strike may lead to an air accident with possible loss of life.”
Caution was also drawn against investing millions of shillings in the unplanned development of aerotropolises without due regard to security issues.