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Finnish firm eyes weather equipment deals for new airports

A traveller at a JKIA terminal. The Finnish firm upgraded the automated weather observation systems at the airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A traveller at a JKIA terminal. The Finnish firm upgraded the automated weather observation systems at the airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG   

Kenya’s status as a budding aviation hub is behind Finnish weather tracker Vaisala’s decision to open an office in Nairobi, the company has said.

The Helsinki stock exchange-listed firm is eyeing contracts for supply of weather observation systems and services to airports in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Chief executive officer Kjelll Forsen on Wednesday said Kenya, which is also the firm’s first Africa office, is well connected to the region, making it easy for Vaisala to venture into those markets easily.

Mr Forsen further said the growing air transport connectivity in the country, expertise and availability of collaborative partners, for instance the meteorology research and training institutions, were other main reasons behind the opening of the Nairobi office.

Vaisala’s entry comes at a time the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has embarked on an aggressive revamp of small airports and airstrips in the country.

The agency is in the process of expanding a number of airstrips that include Manda, Elma and Suneka.

The latest statistics from KAA indicates that Kenya has 15 active commercial airports and airstrips. “Airports cannot operate without weather observation systems,” said Mr Forsen.

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