NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has directed the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the Kenya Airports Authority to investigate encroachment on land at the Wilson Airport.
Macharia says he expects a report in a week’s time so that action can be taken immediately.
He says this is part of the ministry’s agenda to take back encroached land in all airports in the country.
“Fortunately our ministry works very closely with the Ministry of Lands; anything found out to be irregular will be rectified and action will be taken what is the most important in aviation is safety,” he said.
Among the actions that will be taken include demolishing of structures in the encroached areas.
He was speaking during the groundbreaking of the KCAA new air traffic control tower complex worth Sh163 million at the Wilson Airport.
“Encroachment is a general problem we have across the country, today if you go to Malindi Airport you will find it’s encroached, even Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was also facing the same problem, but here given the location it becomes more sensitive, because it impacts on the safety of the aircraft,” he said.
The Kenya Association of Air Operators Chief Executive Colonel Waithaka during the same event revealed that part of the airfield of the Wilson airport has been encroached.
“Wilson Airport master plans that we keep reviewing every five years, the very beginning one of 1993 has a provision for a parallel taxiway that now is history because the land now has been taken and we feel that the land should be reclaimed,” he states.
He also says some people are claiming to own the approach funnel at the airport.
The new air traffic control tower complex is expected to bring on board additional office space that will help ease the current congestion and enhance the KCAA service delivery.
The construction is expected to last 52 weeks and is being constructed by International Economic & Technical Cooperation (WIETC).
Macharia says there is need to invest in the aviation industry which is expected to grow by an average of 5 percent per year in the next 14 years.
“The current air traffic control tower was built 50 years ago and has been facing challenges in coping with the real estate development s over the years that have come up within the city. It is short in height and does not provide adequate view of the entire environment and manoeuvring area from the tower cabin,” stated KCAA Chairperson Samuel Poghisio.
Established in 1933, the Wilson Airport currently averages traffic of around 182,500 landings, takeoffs and training flights annually.
The aviation industry in the country contributes Sh58.9 billion annually to the economy representing 1.1 percent of GDP.