Consulting engineering firm SSI reports that it is currently involved in a number of upgrades for air- ports in Africa, as well as overseeing a significant maintenance contract at OR Tambo International Airport, in South Africa.
In Kenya, the firm is busy with the upgrading of two major airports, namely Kisumu Airport, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
SSI transport sector aviation service line head Gary Fok says that the firm has been appointed with sister company Netherlands Airports Consultants (Naco) by the Kenya Airports Authority to oversee the preliminary design and the detailed design for the lengthening and rehabilitation of the Kisumu Airport’s runway, the greenfield construction of a new apron, as well as a new terminal building, including all the associated services, such as water, electricity and stormwater drainage.
The construction work is being under- taken on the opposite side of the current terminal building and apron, reducing the impact of work on the airport’s continued operation.
“The project has been in supervision phase since September 2008 and is nearing completion. “We expect that the project should be complete by the second quarter of this year,” he says.
Fok reports that the terminal building’s superstructure has already been erected and it is now a matter of outfitting the struc- ture. The project has been ongoing for about three-and-a-half years, having been under SSI’s supervision for the past two-and-a-half years. The entire project is valued at about R400-million.
The upgrade of Jomo Kenyatta Inter- national Airport is also being handled by SSI and Naco. The joint venture undertook the design review and is now supervising the terminal upgrade. The upgrade entails a new parking lot and upgrades to the five-million-passengers-a-year regional and international airport terminal building.
Fok estimates the project is expected to be completed in about three years.
SSI and Naco have also been contracted to oversee the airside upgrades of Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam International Airport. The upgrade entailed expanding existing taxiways and building new taxiways, together with the rehabilitation of the runway. Fok reports that the upgrades took place in two phases. Phase one was completed in 2005 and the second phase started in 2007.
The current airside upgrades of the R300-million phase two of the project have just been completed.
Further, Maputo International Airport, in Mozambique, is also being upgraded. SSI was appointed by Aeroportos de Moçambique to provide technical assistance and design review for the modernisation and extension of Maputo Airport’s international and domestic passenger terminals.
The upgrade also entails the modernisation and enhancement of the cargo terminal, construction of a new control tower, the construction of a VIP facility, and the construction of an apron area next to the new passenger terminal, including a sewage system.
The $80-million project is expected to be complete by the end of the fourth quarter of this year.
Botswana is also currently undertaking the upgrade of its Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, in Gaborone. SSI and Naco have undertaken the design and supervision of the airside upgrade of the airport, including an extension to the runway and the construction of a parallel taxiway, and are overseeing the upgrade of the terminal building.
Total project costs are about $120- million. Work on this upgrade is expected to be complete by about the third quarter of 2011.
SSI has also designed and supervised the Maun Airport improvements, which include construction of a new runway. The airside works will be completed by mid-2012 at a cost of about $78-million.
Meanwhile, Fok reports that the Alpha apron, at South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport, one of the busiest aprons in Africa, is in urgent need of maintenance.
“SSI has been working on reviewing the concrete apron’s design since December 2010 and will be issuing tenders for contractors with considerable experience to start repairs to the apron and individual stands from June this year,” he says.
The maintenance is expected to be complete within 15 months. Two aircraft bays and part of the corresponding taxi lane will be reconstructed at a time. “This will allow for traffic to be diverted around the apron, where repair work is being undertaken,” he says.
Fok expects each of the ten phases of the project to take about six weeks but there are sections of the apron with larger surface areas that require up to 12 weeks to be completed.
“Alpha apron bays 1 to 13 will be upgraded, while traffic will be diverted to aprons Bravo, Charlie, Delta and the new Echo apron,” he explains.
Fok says that, in developing countries, growth in air traffic is generally equal to about double that of a country’s gross domestic product.
“It is often difficult to predict how air traffic will behave, often prompting an airport to expand in anticipation of traffic volumes increasing. It is always a balancing act of providing the appropriate infrastructure to meet air traffic demand, and it is not uncommon for an airport to be under construction to meet growth and expansion expectations.
“We trust our involvement in these developments will meet the demands of increasing air traffic volumes, and will not prompt the requirement for urgent expansion projects to be undertaken at these airports to cope with future growth,” he concludes.