Helsinki bourse-listed weather tracker opens Nairobi office


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

A Helsinki stock exchange-listed environment and industrial measurements firm Vaisala is Wednesday set to officially launch its operations in the country.

The Finnish corporation, which expanded to Africa in 1980, mainly deals in supplying weather observation systems to aviation authorities and meteorological organisations.

Locally the firm is behind the automated weather observation systems installed at three airports, as part of the requirements made to the aviation sector by the US Federal Aviation ahead of direct flights from Kenya to United States.

Kenya spent about Sh200 million to upgrade the automated weather observations systems at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in May, in Moi International and Kisumu Airports in August.

“Vaisala’s mission is to deliver high-quality weather measuring systems to their customers in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as improving measurement infrastructure in the face of extreme weather conditions,” read a statement by the company.

Vaisala is further looking to use its latest hub in Africa to grow its environment and weather services including air quality measurement instruments and services.

“Air pollution is a growing health problem around the world: in 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas where air quality levels exceed WHO.”

READ: Kisumu airport weather kit boosts US flights plan

Vaisala’s two departments; Weather and Environment and Industrial Measurements; offer solutions for various purposes including air quality monitoring and prediction, demanding industrial processes, food technologies and agriculture.

It currently has 31 offices globally and employs about 1,600 people.

The firm, which has been in existence for 80 years provides products and services that enable their clients to make effective operational decisions under different weather conditions.

The firm’s systems were recently used to track lightning during Hurricane Irma.

The system was able to capture up to 45 lightings per minute. The US National Weather Service said Vaisala is one of their vendors for the lightning detection systems.

READ: Kenya Airways gets permit for direct US flights

The company collaborates with academic and research institutions such as Colorado State University, the US National Center for Atmospheric Research to come-up with science-based products.