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Kenya airport expansion on course

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 2 – The rehabilitation and expansion of Kisumu airport is more than 65 percent complete, Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director, George Muhoho announced on Tuesday.

The project which is expected to cost Ksh2.9 billion started in September 2008 is expected to be complete by October this year.

Speaking when he conducted a team of World Bank officials on a tour of the airport, Mr Muhoho said: “The runway that was being extended is more than 70 percent complete while the aircraft parking apron is more than 80 percent complete.” Other civil works are also on course with the phased construction plan.

The Managing Director and World Bank officials led by senior advisor Anil Bhandapi were satisfied with the expansion and modernisation program was right on course.

Mr Bhandapi said: “We are happy and satisfied with the progress of the work so far.  The government is now expected to deal with the issue of the extension of the runway to 3.3 kilometers as pledged earlier and we hope that the decision on financing will be expedited.”

Mr Muhoho added that Kisumu airport’s expansion had elicited increased operator interest and KAA had received a number of requests, which it was considering.

The scope of work entails the construction of a new runway and the expansion of the existing one from 2 kilometers to 3 kilometers. The runway has been widened from 30 meters to 45 meters.  New ground lighting and approach lights is also being installed.

The airport parking bays, or the apron are being extended by 40,000 square meters while a new airport terminal building is being added. The modern one-storey terminal building of about 3,000 square meters will be equipped with state-o-the-art baggage handling facilities.

The car park is also being extended by another 3,500 square meters and in order to ensure a constant electricity supply, KAA will construct a new power substation.

Mr Muhoho added: “This project builds on the ongoing infrastructure expansion programs by KAA which include the expansion of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Malindi Airport, Lamu Airport and Moi International Airport in Mombasa. This is an important milestone in the Government’s efforts to upgrade and transform Kenya’s aviation infrastructure in line with Vision 2030.”

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Currently the traffic at the airport is growing at an average rate of 10 percent. Ultimately Kisumu airport will be able to handle 200,000 passengers and be a formidable cargo transit point into the Great Lakes region and beyond. “We expect that the airport will create at least 1,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs when completed,” said Muhoho.

On completion the airport will open new routes linking Nairobi to Entebbe, Kigali, Arusha, Mwanza and Juba and of direct cargo aircraft operations to Europe, Middle East and within the region.

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