AfDB said the loan would boost the Kenyan government’s efforts to expand JKIA in a bid to make Nairobi an aviation hub.
The project entails a new 4.9km second runway built to ICAO Category Two standards, including connecting taxiways; additional parking stands for aircraft, and an air rescue firefighting unit.
“The second runway will support more air traffic and facilitate increased tourism and business travel and expedite two-way cargo traffic,” said Amadou Oumarou, Director at AfDB’s Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development, who worked on the project.
The new runway will reduce delays at peak hours and avoid costly flight diversions arising from incidences on the existing runway. It will also significantly improve airport capacity to enable direct intercontinental flights to North America and Australia.
The project will significantly increase tourism and business travel annually by 4.2% between 2026 and 2052, while two-way cargo traffic is projected to annually grow by 5.1% over the same period.
The existing runway operates at a Category One level and is 45m wide and 4.1km long. In February, the US Federal Aviation Administration granted JKIA a Category One status, paving the way for direct flights between Kenya and the US.
Last month, American transport officials started the final audit of JKIA to assess security measures put in place ahead of direct flights between Kenya and the US slated for next year. Kenya Airways is expected to launch direct flights to the US in 2018 after it got clearance from the US government some months ago.