Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) International Arrivals terminal. The airport is second-fastest growing airport in the world. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) International Arrivals terminal. The airport is second-fastest growing airport in the world. [Photo/KAA]

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the 2nd fastest growing airport in the world cargo ranking.

This has been revealed in the Airports Council International (ACI) latest World Airport Traffic Report, which highlights top airports for passengers, cargo and aircraft movements and showcases the world’s fastest-growing airports for 2018.

JKIA was ranked 2nd in the ‘Fastest Growing Airports (Handing over 250,000 metric tons of air cargo)’ category, after handling over 342,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2018, a 25% growth from the what was reported in the year 2017.

The airport has recently witnessed a significant boost in air cargo traffic to and from Europe, Asia, America, and most recently China and Australia.

This is what culminated in JKIA being an emerging force and destination in the air cargo industry.

Through deliberate planning and embracing public and private sector participation, the airport has registered a steady transformation in the way air cargo is managed.

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In the last few years, JKIA has seen the entry of several modern transit sheds, increasing its annual overall cargo to 1.2 million tonnes.

Mitchell Cotts, a leading cargo and logistics company, is currently constructing its new shed at JKIA which once complete, will inject an additional annual capacity of 150,000 metric tonnes at the airport.

Astral Aviation, a cargo airline operating from JKIA has in the last year acquired three Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft to boost its freight capacity and expand its network.

“This award validates our ongoing efforts in improving facilities at the JKIA Cargo area. I would like to congratulate all our stakeholders for their collective and ongoing efforts in making this possible,” KAA MD, Jonny Andersen noted.

He added, “This is an exciting time for Kenya, the face of cargo is changing, and we are positioning JKIA as the premier cargo distribution centre for online commerce companies in the region.”

KQ Running JKIA

National carrier Kenya Airways which was interested in Running JKIA pulled out in September after the National Assembly to reject the proposal on July 23.

KQ CEO Sebastian Mikosz, however, says the Privately Initiated Investment Proposal (PIIP) has catalysed discourse about the future of Kenya’s civil aviation.

“KQ’s Board and Management believe that the PIIP has catalysed important discourse about the future of Kenya’s civil aviation, which is now being led by the Government of Kenya. Kenya Airways looks forward to continued collaboration with all involved stakeholders of the process,” said Mikosz in a statement late on Tuesday.

“The Departmental Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing of the National Assembly collected views from Kenyans and institutions in the aviation sector and submitted a report to parliament on June 17, 2019,” he added.

In rejecting the proposal by KQ, the Committee recommended the establishment of an Aviation Holding Company to consolidate the country’s aviation assets, including the nationalisation of KQ.

Mikosz said the decision to withdraw was agreed on during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors held on August 27, 2019. The multi-billion loss-making airline had sought a concession to manage the airport to enable it to compete with competitors such as Ethiopian Airlines, which are heavily subsidised.

In its proposal, first submitted for formal consideration by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Committee on October 5, 2018, the airline had proposed the creation a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to operate, maintain and develop JKIA.

Why MPs rejected KQ offer on JKIA

But MPs said the airline did not demonstrate that it has the financial capacity, relevant experience and the relevant expertise to manage JKIA as required by section 23 of the Public-Private Partnerships Act.

The David Pkosing-led committee also observed that the proposed role of KQ in the concession proposal creates a conflict of interest with regard to its dealings with other airline operators at JKIA and may lead to the oppression of such operators.

MPs also observed that the implementation of the concession would result in the loss of the regulatory certificate to operate JKIA and the last point of departure clearance Kenya enjoys with regard to its direct flights to the United States, noting that it would take years for Kenya to be audited again and be granted similar approval.

The current regulatory certificates issued with regard to JKIA are not transferable to a third party.

Read >> KQ bosses suffer crushing defeat in bid to takeover JKIA

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