Kenya's airports authority is confident that an overhaul of its primary hub, Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International airport, will enable the country to be declared International Civil Aviation Organisation-compliant by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
The country is seeking Category 1 approval from the FAA under the US agency's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) scheme. Such approval, which indicates compliance with ICAO on safety oversight, would enable Kenyan operators to increase US services.
Kenya Airports Authority managing director George Muhoho says that part of the problem is Nairobi's inability to separate adequately arriving and departing passengers - a difficulty which has arisen through lack of capacity at the airport as the 3.2 million passengers it handles annually is nearly 30% more than its design capacity.
But a two-year overhaul programme intends to solve the problem and includes the resurrection of the old Embakasi airport infrastructure located on the opposite side of the runway. When completed, annual capacity will be boosted to 6 million passengers. Muhoho says that the work should be enough to satisfy the FAA's IASA requirements and he expects that it will enable Kenya to achieve Category 1 status "in 18 months from now".
DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW / NAIROBI
Source: Flight International