Uproar after Chinese firm awarded Nairobi airport maintenance contract

LOCAL construction companies in Nairobi are furious with Kenyan Airport Authority’s (KAA) decision to award the contract to refurbish two terminals at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to a Chinese contractor. The local firms say KAA bent the rules for the Chinese company when the name of the company that entered into the bidding process was different from the one that was awarded the tender. KAA officials denied the charge and said the Chinese bidder won the job on merit alone

Terminal 1B and Terminal 1C were closed in January 2021 to pave way for refurbishment and a tender notice was floated that attracted the attention of over 15 companies.

A report by Business Daily on Monday, February 1, noted that China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation, a Chinese firm, was selected to carry out the renovations of the two terminals valued at Ksh963 million.

The other contestants, however, raised objections to the tendering process accusing Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) of flouting the rules.

The firms argued that the name of the company that entered into the bidding process was different from the one that was awarded the tender.

‘Looking at the tender register, China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation did not submit a bid. However, another entity China Jiangxi International Economic is indicated to have submitted,’ stated one of the firms.

The authority, however, maintained that the Chinese firm won the tender on merit.

‘We awarded the tender to this Chinese firm after successfully bidding for it,’ KAA acting Managing Director Alex Gitari stated.

The company has started the refurbishment exercise which is supposed to include demolitions to pave way for the construction of new structures.

In January, KAA issued a notice announcing the closure of the two terminals and relocated all airlines that were using them.

‘All flight operations previously in T1B and T1C have now been migrated to Terminal 1A and Terminal 2.

‘The terminals will remain closed to pave way for renovation works to upgrade the airport and improve on the passenger experience,’ the authority stated.

Lufthansa German Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopia Airlines, RwandAir, Air Mozambique, Air Arabia, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, British Airways were transferred to Terminal 1A.

Terminal 2 now serves passengers travelling using Air Uganda, UNHAS and Emirates.

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