Kenya expects temporary airport terminal in eight weeks

Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:01am EDT

* Scrambling to get main airport fully operational

* Airports' boss takes leave before contract end

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Kenya expects a temporary passenger terminal to be ready at Nairobi airport in eight weeks after fire gutted the arrivals building and will accelerate work on a new terminal already under construction, officials said on Thursday.

Passengers using makeshift marquees still face long delays and cancellations after the blaze at Africa's fourth-busiest airport last week.

"The completion of Terminal 4 is being expedited to bring it into partial operation by the end of this year," Mutuma Mugambi, the chairman of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), told a news conference.

Two Chinese firms, Anhui Construction Engineering Group and state-owned China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation, are building the terminal.

Officials expect the temporary terminal to handle 2.5 million passengers a year - or 6,850 people per day.

The cause of the fire at the airport, which handles 16,000 passengers a day, has not yet been determined.

KAA said its managing director, Stephen Gichuki, whose contract ends in October, had been sent on leave and will be replaced on an acting basis by Lucy Mbugua.

Nduva Muli, Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, said Gichuki's exit was not connected to the way the authority handled the fire.

"He has not been removed from office for any particular reason," Muli told the news conference.

Kenya Airways' chief executive Titus Naikuni has said the airline lost about $4 million in revenue as a result of the fire.

Other airlines flying out of Nairobi airport include Emirates , British Airways, Etihad, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Rwanda Air.

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