The Kenya Airports Authority has set the cost of building the second runway at Jomo Kenyatta international Airport (JKIA) at Sh37 billion.
Construction of the runway — which will be bigger than the current one — will start next year; the agency’s managing director, Jonny Andersen, said.
Once completed, the facility is expected to nearly double the movement of aircraft from the current 25 to 45 per hour, hence minimising delays caused by mishaps on the path.
“The new runway will be an upgrade of the existing one. This will be a category two runway that conforms to international standards,” said Mr Andersen.
JKIA, East Africa’s top airport, has depended on a single runway built more than four decades ago. Last month, a light aircraft crash-landed on the single pathway, paralysing operations at the facility for several hours.
Mr Andersen said that the current runway, which was built in the 1970s, does not put into consideration future advancement in technology
The African Development Bank (AfDB), which is financing the design of the runway, has also expressed interest in financing the works.
The regional bank is awaiting the financial and economic impact analysis to map out the way forward. Some of the features that will come with the new runway include fog lights on the landing path.
Currently, the runway is only lit on the sides. In bad weather, aircraft have to be diverted to Moi International Airport or Entebbe International Airport as they cannot be allowed to land at the JKIA for safety reasons.
The technology of the new runway, according to KAA, will meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Category II specifications, which will enable operations in bad weather thus avoiding diversion of aircraft.
The design for the project was completed in February 2013 including tender documents.
Mr Andersen said that the tender for construction will be issued early next year to enable works to start before the end of 2017.
The proposed design is for a 4.8 kilometres long and 75 metre wide runway. The current runway is 60 metres wide and 4.2 kilometres long.
“This is an ICAO Code F runway which can handle the new generation extra wide bodied aircraft like Airbus A380 and Boeing B747-800,” reads the brief from KAA.
KAA cancelled the construction of Green Field Terminal which was supposed to address capacity issues at the airport this year.
The Transport ministry said in March that the cancellation was informed by recent findings that the terminal would yield little value for money and that the funds would better used to build a second runway.
The Sh69 billion Greenfield Terminal project was to address the increasing number of passengers passing through Kenya’s main airport and was to be built by a Chinese firm over a period of 36 months.
The firm, China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (Catic), won the contract to design and build the facility which was to be financed by a loan from the AfDB.