International Air Transport Association lauds Kenya’s expansion of JKIA


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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lauded Kenya’s focus on infrastructure development at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to increase its passenger handling capacity to 20 million.

Addressing airline stakeholders in Nairobi at the IATA Africa-Middle East Aviation Day on Tuesday 23, Tony Tyler, the association’s director general and chief executive, said ongoing infrastructure investment will create the right facilities to accommodate expected growth in passenger numbers.

“I am pleased to note that after many years of under-investment, the Kenyan government has commissioned two new terminals to bring the overall capacity of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to 7.5 million passengers a year. In addition, there are plans to build a greenfield terminal by 2018 to cater for up to 20 million passengers,” Mr Tyler said.

The association, which represents 260 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic, however, warned that while such developments are welcome, the government must be careful not to over-invest as this may cripple the industry with a cost burden that will weigh down air connectivity.


“If African governments were to take the lead in genuinely consulting the users of the infrastructure before it gets funded, built or operated, they would soon find themselves with the right mix of facilities, growing lock-step with demand, providing the right level of world-class quality, at the right price to maximise growth,” he said.

Kenya is one of the most important hubs for aviation in Africa, connecting the country well to the world. The country, however, continues to face insecurity threats from the Al Shabaab and this has led to dwindling tourist arrivals that have also seen Kenya Airways, the national carrier experience a downturn.

“Perhaps that is why terrorists seek to attack this wonderful country—and it is also why they will ultimately fail in their aims. Terrorism is a global problem and requires concerted global cooperation to overcome it,” Mr Tyler noted.Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chiefOn the African continent, aviation supports 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion (Sh7.8 trillion) in gross domestic product. Over the next 20 years, Africa is set to be one of the fastest-growing aviation regions in the world with annual expansion averaging nearly 5 per cent.

However, ill-conceived regulation, safety lapses, inadequate and costly infrastructure and restrictive air-service agreements remain as key bottlenecks to the growth of continent’s aviation sector.

In particular, taxes and charges on infrastructure and fuel are much higher than the global average and contribute to the high cost to airlines doing business in Africa.


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