Phase I of the Suneka airstrip upgrade in Kisii county, Kenya is 85% complete. Kisii county commissioner Mr. Godfrey Kigochi has confirmed that the contractor Vinbel Marube (Vinbel International Limited), has resumed work after all pending debts were cleared. “The contractor is now working around the clock to complete this phase by mid of September,” he said.
The commissioner said once the first phase is complete, the contractor will hand over the project to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) which is overseeing the US $504,251 project.
The Suneka airstrip upgrade project
The project begun back in February 2015 courtesy of the national government in an effort to facilitate commercial operations of the airport mainly to boost trade and tourism activities in the area.
The initial phase of the rehabilitation project comprises of building of a lounge with a capacity to host 200 passengers, construction of wash rooms and a parking bay, and installation of a chain link fence around the premises.
The second phase includes repairs and extension of the existing runway, which was put in place more than 30 years ago. This retouch will enable the runway to meet the required standards.
Appeal for the rehabilitation
Kisii leaders have on several occasions called upon the national government to have Suneka Airstrip rehabilitated saying that the upgrade would help private cargo and passenger airlines launch commercial flights to the region thereby opening up new markets for local horticultural and flower farmers.
In the 2014/15 budget, the national government, as a result of the outcry, set aside US $16m for construction of the Suneka airstrip together with others in Mandera and Malindi.
The Suneka airstrip is an important gateway in South Nyanza.