Isiolo International Airport is located on the border of Isiolo, in Isiolo County with half of the runaway extending into Meru County in Kenya. The airport is built on a 329.7ha site and is located approximately 283km, by road, and about 200km, by air, North-East of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the country’s largest airport.
The airport which is operated by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), is currently undergoing refurbishment to international standards. Upon completion, Isiolo International Airport is expected to have a passenger handling capacity of 125,000 passengers a year, and serve a number of airlines and air operators with domestic and international flights.
Mordenisation of the airport is part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) corridor development project, as well as Kenya’s Vision 2030 programme. The refurbishment was carried out in three phases. Below is the refurbishment timeline:
Construction of phase 1 began with an estimated investment of US $16.4m. This phase involved the construction of the runway.
Phase 1 of the project was completed and the runway was opened. As part of the refurbishment, the 16/34 runway was expanded from 1.5km to 2.5km to meet the needs of both domestic and international flights. Surfaced with asphalt, the runway can handle Code C aircraft including Boeing 747 to 787 Dreamliner variants and Airbus A300 to A380.
Also the same year, Kenyan Northern Construction Company won the contract to implement phase 2 which involved the construction of a new passenger terminal building to meet international standards during. The ground breaking ceremony for implementation of phase 2 was carried out in February.
With a floor area of approximately 5,000m², Isiolo international Airport’s new passenger terminal building is set to provide interconnectivity and efficient movement between parking areas and terminal facilities. The terminal is expected to have the capacity to handle approximately 700 passengers an hour.
The contract for the implementation of the final phase which involved the construction of an apron and access roads was awarded. Additionally, the contract for the construction of roads and aircraft pavements was awarded in November. The airport and airfield pavements are meant to enhance efficiency at the airport.
Nine check-in counters are expected to be available for domestic and international flights. The terminal building will also feature a VIP lounge, shops, banking and ATM facilities, foreign exchange bureaus, and airline front offices.
Implementation of phase 2 of the project was completed. Phase 2 also involved construction of car parking area, administration office, and support facilities. Additional parking facilities were built to house approximately 200 vehicles. At the same time implementation of phase 3 was in top gear.
The Isiolo International Airport will also feature a 2km-long access road, 1,025m² of office space, a control tower, air ambulance services, a cargo unit, a new 150m apron, and a waste treatment plant.
President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the project which upon completion, is expected to put the largely idle facility to good use, with cargo flights expected to operate from the Isiolo Airport on a daily basis; in addition to shortening the transit time of perishable goods to Nairobi.
In early August, government Spokesman Rtd. Col. Cyrus Oguna said that the Isiolo International Airport is set to to begin operations in January 2022. According to the spokesman, completion of the remaining works is being fast tracked to allow swift movement.
The spokesman said that the remaining works involves ongoing construction of cargo sheds and extension of the runway from the current 1.4km to 2.5km. The cargo sheds are expected to be completed by the end of September and will be able to handle at least 10 tonnes of luggage, while the runway extension is expected to be completed by the end of December this year, paving way for the beginning of flights operation.