Kenya Airways is open to the possibility of leading a consortium to build and manage the planned greenfield terminal at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International airport.

The airline's chief executive, Mbuvi Ngunze, says he has not been told by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) how it proposes to fund the new facility.

But he states: "If they ask us whether there is an opportunity for a [public-private partnership] I am sure we could find partners to be able to come in and work with us as the anchors.

“If there is an anchoring possibility with a long-term perspective it is something we could probably investigate and see whether it fits in with our objectives."

The 178,000m2 greenfield terminal is being built to the east of the airport’s Terminal 1 and is will increase capacity at JKIA to around 20 million people per year. It is due to be completed by 2017 and will be equipped with 50 international and 10 domestic check-in desks, 32 contact and eight remote gates, and an apron with 45 stands.

Construction of the new facility will be carried out by China’s Anhui Construction Engineering Group and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation.

Ngunze doubts whether the completion date will be achieved and says he is due to meet with the airport authority to “evaluate the progress of the greenfield terminal" and "find out where KAA is with the financing”.

He says the airport authority is “looking at some long-term financing” for the facility and believes it has approached the Export-Import Bank of China, but adds that he is not able to speak authoritatively on the plans.

Ngunze says he “wouldn’t encourage” the airport authority to seek to fund the new terminal through an increase in airport charges, noting that the airport charges regime in Kenya and East Africa is already “pretty high”.

Instead, he says, the airport authority should explore revenue generation "through franchises around the airport – that’s what modern airports are doing”.

Ngunze says Kenya Airways’ operational challenges at JKIA have eased since a fire ravaged the international arrivals area in August 2013.

He says the carrier's move into a new dedicated Terminal 1A and the recent opening of Terminal 2 have helped to “largely decongest” the airport and that, while immigration counters are still “a bit tight”, gate processes “have significantly improved”.

But he adds: “The challenge is we don’t have enough online contact gates which [means] both the arrivals and departures are not as seamless because you don’t have full contact nose-in parking.”

While Kenya Airways was able to obtain compensation for office and computer damage, he says, the airline was largely unable to claim for the losses it experienced due to the fire because “you don’t have consequential loss cover” for aviation operations.

Source: Cirium Dashboard