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Kenya Airports Authority

The Kenya Airports Authority is aiming to make Kenya a hub for Africa

Abbie Smith

In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the KAA is investing heavily in its processes, workforce and aviation facilities
The Kenya Airports Authority is aiming to make Kenya a hub for Africa


The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) was established in 1991 through an act of parliament, and the organisation was tasked with managing and taking responsibility for all the airports and airstrips in the country.

The mission of the KAA is therefore to “facilitate seamless connectivity through provision of efficient and effective airports facilities and services in an environmentally sustainable manner to exceed stakeholder expectations.” Meanwhile, its vision is to become “the airport system of choice.”

In order to achieve both those goals, the Kenya Airports Authority is investing heavily in its facilities, workforce processes and the community. Ultimately, the Authority is looking to turn Kenya into a ‘hub’ for Africa.


The KAA is based at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, the largest airport in the east and central Africa. The airport originally had a passenger handling capacity of 2.5 million, however, it is rapidly expanding and it currently handles 6.5 million passengers a year.

There are two other international airports that the KAA is also responsible for; Moi international airport in Mombassa and Eldoret International Airport. Meanwhile, there are a number of smaller local and domestic airports that the KAA is in charge of; Wilson, Malindi, Kisumu, Wajir and Lokichoggo. In addition to the airports, Kenya Airports Authority also looks after close to 200 airstrips in the country.

In 2003, the KAA achieved an ISO 9000:2000 certification, and it is currently pursuing a recertification; ISO 9000:2008 Quality Management System.

“We are also in the process of introducing an ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning – tool, which will be up and running by August this year,” adds Edward Kobuthi, the Airport Manager at JKIA.

 “All our finance operations, our maintenance operations and our human resources will all be linked up to that one automated system.”


Professionalism and teamwork are two of the Kenya Airport Authority’s core values, and the organisation invests significantly in developing its 1,700-strong workforce. “Every employee, at least once a year, gets some serious training with numerous refresher courses,” comments Kobuthi.

“We have a very comprehensive training programme, both locally and overseas, especially on safety, security and customer service,” he affirms.

“Everybody that is going to be present airside is given safety awareness training and on the security side of things, we continuously have refresher courses, especially for those employees that operate the screening machines.”

The KAA is also going to train up ‘ERP Champions’ to coincide with the launch of its new management tool. Champions will be selected from each operational area; for example, finance, customer service, human resources, and are then trained in South Africa on using the new software.  

Not only are Kenya Airports Authority employees trained to a high standard, they are also treated very well. The organisation offers above average pay, medical schemes, and a bus service to take staff members to and from work. Senior employees can also benefit from a car and housing allowance.

“Those are some of the things that we are doing to ensure that we are top notch, in terms of having a motivated workforce, but also in terms of improving our facilities and our processes,” Kobuthi notes. 


The KAA is currently pumping huge amounts of capital into its airports; refurbishing terminals as well as expanding some locations and constructing new runways. One of the biggest projects the Authority is presently involved with is the major refurbishment of the JKIA, and its overall cost has been estimated at US$500 million.

At the moment, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport consists of three terminals and one runway. The construction of a fourth terminal is currently underway, and Kobuthi hopes this will be completed by the end of the year.

He expands: “We will then build a second runway, because only having one runway is risky for us. Then, our current facilities (terminals one, two and three), were constructed quite a few years ago, so we want to give them a facelift too.”

Meanwhile, the KAA has just completed full refurbishments of both Kisumu Airport and Malindi Airport.


With such huge investments taking place in the KAA’s processes, airport facilities and workforce, it seems fair to predict that it will be successful in achieving both its mission and vision.  Specifically looking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kobuthi hopes the addition of a fourth terminal and second runway will help it to more than double its passenger capacity.

“I think in five years, we will be able to handle in excess of 20 million passengers a year at JKIA,” he says. “We are also working towards attaining a category one status, which would mean that anybody, including people from the US, can fly to Nairobi directly.”

He concludes by saying: “I see Jomo Kenyatta as being the top airport in the whole of Africa within five years.”

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