Upgrading works on the Isiolo International Airport has completed and operation is expected to commence fully in the next four weeks.
The US$16.4m project was launched by the Retired President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki in 2013. The project has 1.4km runway for Code C air crafts.
According to Johnny Andersen, Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) Managing Director, the facility is an important link to the new transport corridor which the government is developing under the Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project.
Furthermore, the refurbished world-class airport took five years to complete and becomes the fifth largest airport in Kenya. The airport has been built to the standard of other international airports namely Moi International Airport (Mombasa), Kisumu International Airport, Eldoret International Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Briefing the media during a tour of the airport, Andersen noted that, the airport occupies 800-acre land and consists of a modern passenger terminal that can handle more than 125,000 passengers annually, including parking facilities that accommodate over 200 vehicles.
KAA Managing Director, further, expressed confidence towards the project saying that the airport will play a more significant role in providing employment to the people of the neighboring counties, transport tourist and cargo in addition to linking up the neighboring counties in this region to the rest of the country.
“This facility will play a key role in facilitating transport within the Horn of Africa region due to its strategic location,” said Johnny Andersen. “This region has huge untapped potential that require projects such as this one to be unlocked,” he added.
Additionally, farmers will be able to export meat products to the Middle East and other parts of the country faster thus relieving farmers of high transport cost. The airport will also be of significant help to khat (miraa) farmers in regards to transportation. The business is projected to grow by 35% in the county.
As part of KAA mandate to administer, control and manage Kenya’s aerodromes, the upgrading of Isiolo Airport is just one of several major projects that KAA has implemented across the country.
Nonetheless, KAA has embarked on a plan to improve existing airports and airstrips as well as build new ones to stimulate growth in key sectors of the economy such as tourism, horticulture, and trade.
“Presently, the authority has several ongoing expansion projects of our main airports and designated airstrips in Nairobi, Kisumu, Isiolo, Embu, Nyeri, and Mombasa and the recently completed Manda Airport in Malindi,” said Andersen.
Besides the authority working toward attaining Vision 2030, which is a long-term national development blueprint, KAA’s expansion projects are guided by the urgent need to deploy world-class infrastructure facilities and services in Kenya. To achieve this, the country requires modern infrastructure facilities such as the Isiolo International Airport.
Isiolo County, is however, expected to occupy a significant position as a precursor to the envisaged status. The airport will connect Isiolo to the rest of the world and play the important role of being a micro-enabler in the growth of the economy of the county, the country and the region at large.
Isiolo airport has so far received several requests from a number of airlines including Fly 540 Air Kenya and Fly Sax to operate at the new airport though the number is expected to go up with time.