, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Kenya Airways has announced plans to suspend flights to Kisumu from July 1st to November 30, 2009.
In a statement issued on Wednesday the company said that this would be occasioned by the planned expansion and renovation of the Kisumu airport runway.
“KQ’s Embraer E170 jets which operate on this route cannot land on the available runway space which will be shorter during the renovation period,” the statement stated.
Plans to upgrade the Kisumu airport into grade A- international status – are at advanced stages but the Sh3 billion project risk being delayed further as controversies over land persist.
The project was commissioned three years ago after a feasibility study was done by the Netherlands Airport consultants but the Kogony clan has been rocked in a row with the Kenya Airports Authority over compensation plans of their land which will be acquired for the project. The residents are demanding to be rewarded before the airport project which is expected to offer a fortune to Kisumu city can be allowed to proceed.
Kisumu airport air craft pavement was put up in 1976 and since then very little has been done and due to aging it has experienced frequent failures which interfere with smooth aircraft operations.
The airport also lacks proper infrastructure to facilitate leasing of land of land for development of aircraft maintenance areas like hangers and so on. Its expansion will therefore have the capacity to cope with the ever increasing growth in both regional and international traffic.
A new run-way will be constructed and the existing one which is 2km will be extended to between 2000m-3000m.It will also be wider by between 30m-45m. A new packing space for about 130 cars will be built together with a terminal building of 3000sqm with seperate terminal facilities for both domestic and international passengers.
Kenya Airways also apologised to its Malindi bound passengers following the cancellation of the route. The airline’s Commercial Director, Richard Nuttall has said that the airline was forced to cancel the route because“the market demand is not sufficient for our fleet.” In order to alleviate the inconvenience, the airline is re-routing its passengers via Mombasa and also providing road transport to and from Malindi.
However, the airline will offer flights to and from Malindi during the Easter weekend. The 70 seater Embraer E170 jet will operate daily flights on 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th April 2009.