KISUMU, Nov 8 – The Sh2.6 billion expansion of Kisumu airport which has for long been in the balance is finally starting, the Kenya Airports Authority has said.
Deputy Managing Director Mathews Wanyama said the land issues that have been hindering the project have now been resolved.
"We will next week start compensating the Kogony community whose land was earmarked for the expansion," he said.
"We have already completed the valuation of the land and property."
Mr Wanyama urged the families whose land was taken to avail themselves for compensation when the exercise starts.
He however declined to reveal how much had been set a side for compensation citing security reasons.
The airport expansion plan has been in the pipeline since 2003 when Kenya Civil Aviation Authority embarked on a plan to upgrade its airports across the country to international standards.
Speaking in Kisumu during a sensitization workshop for the families, Mr Wanyama said they had completed modalities on how to give out the compensation.
He said the authority organized the workshop to help the group understand how to prudently utilise the money.
"We have further acquired a 10 hectares land where we will put up an ultra modern primary school for the community," Mr Wanyama said.
KAA said it was confident that the expansion project would now continue without any other problems.
"The contractor, Chinese Overseas Engineering Company is currently improving the existing runway before embarking on the expansion of the 3km runaway in a few weeks time," he said.
The rehabilitation and expansion work will involve lengthening the 1.7km runway to three kilometers and widening it to accommodate bigger planes like the 400 seater Boeing 767.
Currently, the airport runway can only accommodate light aircraft, with the largest being the 85-seater DC-9.
Other airports on the same expansion programme are Jomo Kenyatta, Malindi, Wajir and Wilson.