Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has announced plans for the construction of a new international airport adjacent to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) within the next three years.

The move comes in response to recent challenges faced by JKIA, including a widely circulated video showing a leaking roof.

During a session before the Senate plenary on Wednesday, Murkomen disclosed that the government aims to initiate the construction tender on January 15, 2024.

"We are in the process of working on a new Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model of a new terminal that we should be advertising on January 15, 2024, and hopefully by June, we can get the relevant contractor so that in the next three years we have a completely new airport," Murkomen stated.

According to Murkomen, the proposed international airport is part of President William Ruto’s ambitious agenda to address congestion at JKIA.

Murkomen emphasized the administration's commitment, stating, “I am very clear in my mind and very focused that in the next three years, we need to deliver a brand new airport that will be a signature project for this administration.”

JKIA, established in 1978, is the largest and busiest airport in Kenya.

The revelation of a leaking roof in a viral video highlighted the challenges facing the ageing facility.

To address this, the government is conducting feasibility studies to determine the actual cost of constructing the new airport.

Despite the anticipated economic impact, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Enoch Wambua criticized the timing of the project, calling it a misplaced priority amidst economic challenges.

"How can you think of an airport when the economy is in tatters? They cannot fix a leaking roof at an existing airport. Their timing is completely wrong," Wambua remarked.

Addressing concerns raised by Senator Edwin Sifuna about passengers being dropped off at a considerable distance from the airport terminal, Murkomen explained that the airport dropping areas are determined by security plans within the airport.

He assured that plans are underway for a new terminal, stating, “Nothing just changes because of the rains but plans are already in place for a new terminal.”

The proposed international airport, estimated to cost billions of shillings, is expected to include basic components such as a runway, hangar, parking lot, terminal building, and taxiway.

The government aims to complete the project by 2026-2027, marking a significant development in the country's aviation infrastructure.

The move to construct a new international airport follows a resolution of a stalemate between the Kenya Airports Authority and a Chinese company, which had been awarded the tender to construct a new terminal in 2015.

"I report here today that we have resolved the issue and cleared all claims of Sh25 billion. Now we are free to advertise for a new PPP for a contractor to build a terminal," Murkomen confirmed.