Kenya has commenced the construction of a new KES55.5bn ($650m) terminal at Jono Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was present at the ceremony for the new terminal, which is intended to strengthen Kenya’s position as a regional aviation hub.
The new terminal will have the capacity to handle 20 million passengers per year, three times the existing capacity, and will ease the congestion at the airport by meeting the current and future demand.
Spanning 178,000m², the terminal will feature 50 international and ten domestic check-in points, 32 contact gates and eight remote gates, an associated apron with 45 stands and linking taxiways, a railway terminal and a bus park.
The president said: "This facility will enhance our efforts to uplift the living standards of the Kenyan people through business opportunities and foster national and regional socio-economic integration and development."
He noted that the new passenger terminal is among the developments that will usher in a new era in African aviation.
The construction will be taken up in two phases and is expected to be completed by 2017.
Construction work will be carried out by Chinese firms Civil Engineering Group (ACEG) and China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (CATIC).
According to figures from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), JKIA has an installed capacity of 2.5 million passengers, and handles an average of 6.5 million passengers every year.
Passenger traffic at the airport is growing at a rate of 12% per annum, and is expected to hit the 25 million mark by 2025.
In order to accommodate the increasing passenger traffic the airport has lined up other projects. These include the construction of a fourth terminal, interim redesign of the first three terminals, a second runway, and remote stands and bussing gates.