The Isiolo International Airport in Kenya is set to to begin operations in January 2022. Government Spokesman Rtd. Col. Cyrus Oguna said completion of the remaining works is being fast tracked to allow swift movement.
The airport 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. It was launched by the Retired President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki in 2013 and officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017. However the facility has largely failed to live up to its expectations, with some airlines beginning operations to and from the facility and later withdrawing after a few flights.
Isiolo International 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. 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.
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.
Completion of the remaining works will 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, Mr Oguna said this will also prevent accidents caused by fast vehicles, especially those that bring Miraa to Wilson Airport.
According to the Acting General manager, Business and Development at the Kenya Airports Authority Jacob Werner, the facility in Isiolo is the most strategically positioned airport among all the network of airports under Kenya Airports Authority, and its full operationalization will completely change the transportation of goods and people in and outside the airport.