Relief for KQ as innovation of key airport facilities ends
Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) has finally completed the Sh936 million terminal 1B and C refurbishment project at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after nine months of delay that impacted flights.
The 12-month renovation exercise at the departure sections of the two terminals will now centralise the security screening features to improve check-in activity and boost the passenger lounge experience at the airport.
Its completion is set to ease traffic flow and enhance efficiency due to the centralisation of screening exercises at the terminals, especially at this time of the year when the aviation industry is recovering. This comes when both domestic and internal travels are expected to surge towards the end of the year as the holiday season approaches.
The face-lifting exercise was supposed to have been completed in December 2021 by the contractor China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC), which undertook the works on site since January last year.
Kenya Airways (KQ) executives last month told shareholders that the renovation delays had brought congestion and crippled its smooth operations at JKIA, hindering its sales and revenues amid pressures to embark on a profitability path.
“The situation at the airport (JKIA) is very difficult and very embarrassing for Kenya. In the morning and evening hours, the airport is severely congested. That impacts the image that people have of Kenya,” said KQ board chair Michael Joseph who blamed “lack of planning” as seemingly the reason behind the dragging of the project.
Some of the airlines that were using terminals 1B and 1C were rerouted to terminal 1A used by KQ and other international airlines like British Airways. This created inconveniences due to slow processing of passengers, mostly during peak hours amid industry recovery from Covid impact.
KQ’s international routes to, for instance, London, increased to seven times a week as of August 2022 compared to two times per week witnessed in 2021. Route to Zanzibar also surged to 12 times a week, up from the previous twice weekly in 2021.
The congestion at departure joints meant some international passengers flying via JKIA risked missing connecting flights in other countries.