If you’ve ever traveled through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and thought it was huge, you ‘ain’t seen nothin’ yet’! Take a trip to China.
Since the US government in September granted Kenya airways a permit to operate direct flights to America, JKIA can look forward to an upturn in business operations. But how does Africa’s 9th largest airport compare to what’s coming up in China very soon?
A multimillion- dollar expansion plan was set in place that was expected to boost the capacity of JKIA threefold from 2.5 million to 7.5 million passengers annually. Beijing’s new airport, in contrast is set to be the world’s biggest, according to Reuters. Initially accommodating 72 million passengers per year, the new airport will be designed for further expansion to accommodate 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo annually. This is just about JKIA’s capacity multiplied ten times.
The current largest airport in the world in terms of capacity is the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the USA. It effectively handles 104 million passengers annually. However, the Atlanta Airport’s terminal covers approximately 130 acres of land as compared to the new Beijing airport’s 173 acres according to various sources. JKIA covers an area of approximately 14 acres, with about 74 acres of aircraft parking space.
Of course, this has something to do with the increase in number of Chinese tourists eager to travel the world over the last few years. Kenya is interestingly one attractive destination.
The late architect Zaha Hadid designed the Beijing New Airport Terminal Building, which will be filled with civic gardens and include separate passenger areas for international and domestic flights to create a more compact building and reduce travel times.
The initial opening phase of the airport will have four runways. Two later phases will lead to additional areas that can push the airport’s capacity to 100 million passengers a year.
Construction is also taking place on a high-speed railway station that passengers will be able to use to get the airport, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China recently announced.
The new airport will help ease travel times, with Beijing’s Capital International Airport currently recognized as the second busiest in the world.