Murkomen blames shoddy work, neglect for JKIA leakages

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen has blamed leakages at JKIA on shoddy work and neglect by the previous regime. [Courtesy, X]

A new modern terminal will be constructed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to resolve the problems that have recently plagued the facility.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said plans are at the design stage and procurement will be done in January under a Public-Private Partnership plan.

“At the start of President William Ruto’s administration last year, we found dilapidated infrastructure at our airports, and even though we have done our best to address the problem, some issues remain because of previous long-term neglect,” Murkomen said.

Speaking in Kwale, on Tuesday, he claimed that much of the work done, especially in the last days of the Jubilee government, was sub-standard.

He spoke days after pictures of a leaking roof at the JKIA sparked hue and cry from Kenyans.

Murkomen said the leaking roof reported on Monday was a product of neglect by past governments.

“The chickens have come home to roost. We have asked the contractor to redo the works at the temporary terminal, while the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) have been directed to sort out drainage issues,” he said.

On the recent power outage, the CS said the contractor has taken a long time to ensure an immediate changeover to the standby generator when there is such a blackout.

“Twenty seconds can be excusable, but not 20 minutes. We want an automatic changeover,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government is in talks with people living within Ukunda Airport to relocate them to pave the way for the extension of the runway to start operations.

The current 1.2km runway has been extended by 200 metres and can now accommodate about 80 passengers, up from 50.

He said the full use of the extended runway will also cut the cost of flights by half – from the current average of Sh20,000 to Sh10,000.

“This will help increase the number of passengers visiting the South Coast, a popular tourist destination," he said.

“We are also carrying out other improvements, such as building a new terminal to accommodate up to 300 passengers, as well as markings and lighting for security and extended landing time,” said Murkomeni.

He said the government also plans to construct a new terminal to provide a better experience for airline operators and passengers.

“We hope that the improvements at Ukunda Airport will boost tourism and the economy of the region. We will do everything to ensure that airlines and tourists benefit from the renovations during this season,” said the CS.

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