Friday, July 19, 2024

B747 plane with burst tyres shuts JKIA’s only runaway for whole day

The Monday of April 17, 2023, turned out to be an embarrassing one for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after it a faulty B747 plane shut down the whole airport for nearly the whole day.

It all started in the morning when a Singapore Airlines B747 cargo plan developed problems while on the runaway. The plan’s engines are reported to have caught fire, which led to bursting of eleven tyres. The mega plane’s 16 tyres burst leading to deflation. This meant that the plane could not be towed from he runaway.

This forced the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to re-route planes that were schedule to land at JKIA. Planes that were scheduled to depart were delayed. This happened because since construction, the JKIA has been relying solely on one runaway.

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In October 2022, Roads and Transport cabinet secretary Kipchumba Murkomen had announced that the government would revive the multi-billion JKIA Greenfield Terminal project that was canceled by former president Uhuru Kenyatta. However, there has been no news on any proposal for the construction of a second terminal.

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The project was cancelled in March 2016 barely two years after a ground-breaking ceremony that was held on May 23, 2014.


At the time of cancellation, a down payment of Sh. 4.3 billion had been made to ACEG-CATIC JV, which was to undertake construction of the Greenfield Terminal.

The 178,000 square metres terminal would have included 50 international check-in counters, eight air bridges for aircraft to dock, 45 aircraft parking stands, and an additional runaway.

A total of Sh. 75 million was spent on ground-breaking, while Sh. 129.9 million was paid to consultant, Louise Berger. PwC received Sh. 7 million for securing the financier of the project.


Chinese firms Anhui Civil Engineering Group (ACEG) and China Aero Technology Engineering International Corporation (Catic) had been selected to build the terminal, which was expected to handle 20 million passengers a year.

Following the termination of the contract, ACEG-CATIC JV wrote to KAA demanding to be paid a total of Sh. 17.6 billion for breach of contract.

The Chinese company wanted KAA to pay Sh2 billion for the preparation of bill of quantities, Sh. 2.4 billion in additional costs, and Sh. 708.2 million value added tax charged by KRA.

The contractor demanded an additional Sh. 5.6 billion, which included the balance of the contract for the bill of quantities, value added tax, and interest and penalties. The contractor has since moved to the International Court of Arbitration seeking this compensation.

The Greenfield Terminal project was cancelled due to Kenya’s alleged failure to raise 15 per cent of the project cost, which would have unlocked the remaining 85 per cent budget that was to be provided by a consortium of local and foreign banks.

The Kenya Aviation Authority was to meet 15 per cent of the required cost, which is about Sh. 8.4 billion, while the balance of Sh. 48 billion was to come from other lenders, including the China Exim Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), American Consortium AAE and Standard Bank Group.

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