JKIA among 5 fastest growing airports in the world


Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the 2nd fastest growing airport in the world cargo ranking.

The Airports Council International (ACI) ranks JKIA 2nd in the ‘Fastest Growing Airports.

JKIA handling over 342,000 metric tonnes of air cargo in 2018, a 25 per cent growth from what was reported in the year 2017.

JKIA modern transit sheds

The latest World Airport Traffic Report highlights top airports for passengers, cargo and aircraft movements and showcases the world’s fastest-growing airports for 2018.

JKIA has recently witnessed a significant boost in air cargo traffic to and from Europe, Asia, America, and most recently China and Australia.

This is what has culminated in JKIA being an emerging force and destination in the air cargo industry.

Through deliberate planning and embracing public and private sector participation, the airport has registered a steady transformation in the way air cargo is managed.

In the last few years, JKIA has seen the entry of several modern transit sheds, increasing its annual overall cargo to 1.2 million tonnes.

Mitchell Cotts, a cargo and logistics company, is currently constructing itss new shed at JKIA which once complete, will inject an additional annual capacity of 150,000 metric tonnes at the airport.

Astral Aviation, a cargo airline operating from JKIA has in the last year acquired three Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft to boost its freight capacity and expand its network.

KAA MD, Jonny Andersen said, “This is an exciting time for Kenya, the face of cargo is changing, and we are positioning JKIA as the premier cargo distribution centre for online commerce companies in the region.”

He said the award validates the airport’s ongoing efforts in improving facilities at the JKIA Cargo area.

World’s top three airports for passenger traffic volume

The report notes that in total, the world’s airports accommodated 8.8 billion passengers, 122.7 million metric tonnes of cargo, and 99.9 million aircraft movements.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport, and Dubai International Airport respectively were the world’s top three airports for passenger traffic volume.

The airports have held their positions while Los Angeles International Airport (fourth) and Tokyo International Airport (fifth) have swapped places in the top five from last year.

“The World Airport Traffic Report shows that, even as smaller airports around the world continue to make strong gains, the largest hub airports continue to grow,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said.

“There were 16 airports handling more than 40 million passengers per annum in 2008 and there are now 54. Collectively, these airports achieved a year-over-year passenger traffic growth of +5.1 per cent in 2018 which is significant considering a large proportion of these airports are in the mature and capacity constrained markets of North America and Europe.”

Fastest-growing top 30 airports

Most of the world’s fastest-growing airports are located in emerging markets, a significant proportion of them being in the Asia-Pacific region.

As many as 12 of the fastest-growing top 30 airports in 2018 are located in either China or India.

“India’s move towards a more liberalized aviation market and the nation’s strengthening economic fundamentals have helped it become one of the fastest-growing markets with its traffic growing rapidly in a relatively short time,” Gittens said.

“Major Russian airports also experienced significant gains in traffic following on from difficult economic times in 2015 and 2016 and they also received a boost in traffic numbers as a result of the FIFA World Cup.”

As regards total cargo volumes, the top five airports – Hong Kong International Airport, Memphis International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Incheon International Airport, and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport respectively – all held their positions from the previous year.

Big movers were Los Angeles International Airport which jumped three places from thirteenth to tenth this year and Doha International Airport which advanced five places from sixteenth, last year, to eleventh.

Rockford, an expansive air cargo hub in the United States, was the fastest-growing airport in 2018 for airports that handled more than 250,000 metric tonnes of air cargo. Positioning itself as an e-commerce freight hub for online retail giant Amazon, the airport’s traffic grew +56.6 per cent in 2018.

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