, MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 20 – The National Government on Tuesday launched a Sh7 billion (USD70 million) project rehabilitation of Airside Pavements and Airfield Ground Lighting System at Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony of the project, which will take 24 months to be completed.
Speaking during the function, Macharia said Moi International Airport caters for 80 per cent of all international tourists coming to Kenya.
“This airport is the main airport serving the coast region. We need it to operate to its maximum capacity,” said Macharia.
Balala said the Moi International Airport has the capacity to handle two million people annually, but currently only gets 300,000 passengers.
He said there is a need for the government, private sector and other aviation stakeholders to support the airport to ensure more planes land in Mombasa.
“Currently, we have 15 charter flights coming to Mombasa every week, up from nine last year. But Moi International Airport cannot rely on charter business alone, we need more international scheduled airlines,” said Balala.
Kenya Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer Johny Andersen said the last major rehabilitation done at Moi International Airport in Mombasa was done in 1994 by Pacific Consultants International PCI, a Japanese Company.
He said in 2014 they began preparations for the rehabilitation of the runway and associated works.
“This includes the study on the state of the runway, business case, the source of funding and finally scope of works. In 2017 we completed the process and were able to secure USD65milion, which is 93 per cent of the funding from AFD – Agence Française de Développement. Kenya Airports Authority will cover the balance of USD 5Million,” said Andersen.
The World Bank will also fund the consultants at the cost of USD 900,000.
Others who attended the ceremony were French Ambassador to Kenya Aline Kuster-Menager, Mombasa Deputy Governor Dr William Kingi and Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi.