JKIA to undergo major upgrade, reveals Transport CS Murkomen

Kipchumba Murkomen.

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyngaresi | Nation Media Group

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is set to undergo a makeover as the government seeks to improve service delivery and customer experience to make it competitive with other airports in the East African region and beyond.

Although Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, who made the announcement, did not immediately reveal how much the improvements will cost the government, he said JKIA, the country's premier airport, deserved to be on par with the best airports in the world.

At the heart of the planned improvements is a service charter that brings together all the agencies operating at JKIA under one roof to provide "seamless" services to passengers.

The charter, which CS Murkomen says will be signed by the end of this month, will bring together the sector's government agencies - immigration, customs, police, port health and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) - under the leadership of the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA). The KAA manages all airports in the country.

 “We are committed to ensuring that JKIA becomes the airport with the best service delivery to our customers in the world,” CS Murkomen spoke during a meeting with a multi-agency team of senior KAA and JKIA managers among others at the facility.

Murkomen

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen (right) at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, accompanied by JKIA officials on August 26, 2023. 

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Among the areas planned for improvements include the installation of state-of-the-art security scanners and the deployment of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to provide prior information of passengers “for more efficiency.”

The state-of-the-art scanners will be deployed to expand screening at the entrance of the airport Passenger Screening Yard (PSY) to ensure that passengers do not necessarily alight from vehicles to go through the process as is the case now.

In doing so, the technology will also facilitate the self-checking of passengers to speed up movement, and immigration services and also enhance airport entry.

There is also need to ensure that the company providing parking services increases the exit and entry booths at the JKIA.

The handheld luggage scanners will also be increased to make the process faster and ensure that only suspicious and tagged luggage are opened by customs officials and subjected to further examination.

“Passenger facilitation services shall be streamlined to avoid access to the airport by unauthorised persons,” said Mr Murkomen adding; “KAA will also establish a passenger facilitation unit to reduce the number of persons entering the airport to facilitate the VIPs.”

“To this end, all access card holders shall be screened afresh.”

Passenger facilitation services shall be streamlined to avoid access to the airport by unauthorized persons. KAA will establish a passenger facilitation unit to reduce the number of persons entering the airport in the name of facilitating VIPs. To this end, all access cards shall be withdrawn and screened afresh.

To ensure professionalism, all staff at the airport – customs, immigration, port health and the police – will be trained in customer service.

The police unit service at the airport and other ports of entry shall be facilitated to carry out their duties professionally.

“We are also considering, in consultation with the Interior Ministry, creating a standalone port of entry police unit complete with its own code,” said the CS.

To improve customer experience, Mr Murkomen revealed that KAA will provide canopies at the airport to cover passengers whenever it rains as well as work with the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to improve drainage.

The government is also committed to providing free WiFi and more charging ports at the airport as it moves to increase and revamp breastfeeding booths at the facility to make them more comfortable for lactating mothers.

 The CS further noted that the government has undertaken to ensure that the prices and quality of goods offered by concessioners such as restaurants are good and up to the standards.