Kenyaâ€™s government shelved plans to build a new terminal at the main international airport as the East African nationâ€™s tourism industry struggles to recover from attacks by Islamist militants.
The decision to halt the project at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is the result of â€œprevailing economic and financial dynamics which have been on a downward trend over the last three years,â€ the Kenya Airports Authority said in statement on its Twitter account in the capital, Nairobi.
When the project was announced in 2014, the authority said it would cost $653 million and have the capacity to handle 20 million passengers.
The number of visitors to Kenya dropped for the fourth straight year in 2015 to 748,710, down 41 percent from 2011, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data. Tourists have been scared by attacks by al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, including the assault on the upmarket Westgate mall in Nairobi in September 2013.
JKIA, as the airport is known, has the capacity to handle 7.5 million passengers, according to the authority. Thatâ€™s 1 million more than the number of people the airport handled last year, it said.
A continuing â€œreorganization and modernizationâ€ of the existing infrastructure airport is expected to raise capacity to 10.5 million people, the
The authority also said the airport is expected to achieve category one status by May, enabling the facility to handle direct flights to the US.
JKIA is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of and largest city in Kenya. Located in the Embakasi suburb 15 kilometres southeast of Nairobi’s central business district, the airport has scheduled flights to destinations in over 50 countries.
The airport is named after Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president and prime minister. The airport served 5,803,635 passengers in 2011, making it the ninth-busiest airport in Africa by total passengers. It is the hub for flag carrier Kenya Airways, Jambojet, as well as Fly540 and African Express.