JKIA’s second runway long overdue

According to data from openflights, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the third largest Airport in Africa by the number of arrival and departure routes. The airport handles 128 and 130 Arrival and departure routes respectively.

Largest Airports by Route

It is one of the most strategically located airports in Africa and thus acts as a gateway to neighboring countries. Sadly it is under threat from Bole International Airport in Ethiopia and very soon Kigali International Airport.

Top African Airports Location

Bole International Airport has had an impressive run of consistent growth as the country’s carrier Ethiopian Airways expands it’s list of destinations. It currently handles 109 arrival and 105 departure routes, 94 of which are served by Ethiopian Airways. Kenya Airways on the other hand contributes to just 54 of JKIA’s routes.

Direct US Flights

Fortunately Kenya now has category one status which means direct flights to the united states is now possible. It joins Johannesburg, Cairo, Kotoka, Menara and Mohammed V as some of the Airports with direct flights to the US.

The press briefing lacks clarity on whether all international Airports in Kenya and not just JKIA can carry out direct flights but it would be safe to assume JKIA as the only airport that can service direct flights between the two countries.

Number of Runways

Most Airports with direct flights to the US either have fewer number of routes or multiple runways.

Runways and direct flights

JKIA is the largest of all the airports with one runway and the only one in the top 9 by number of routes. It is therefore important that Kenya Airports Authority constructs a second runway or routes other flights to Mombasa International Airport to avoid further disruptions as have been common.

Similarly, Kenya Airports Authority could explore options of getting Mombasa International Airport a category 1 status as it currently serves just 14 and 12 departure and arrival routes using it’s two runways.