Isiolo airport to start operations in two weeks

Workers continue with the construction of the terminus at the Isiolo International Airport on September 5, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Workers continue with the construction of the terminus at the Isiolo International Airport on September 5, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Isiolo International Airport is set to start its operation in two weeks, Transport Principal Secretary (PS) Paul Maringa has announced.

Completion of the final works on the 1.4-kilometre runway is underway and is expected to conclude in seven days.

In a final inspection tour Thursday, the PS gave a nod to the facility to begin operating, but only for domestic flights.

He was accompanied by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director Johnny Andersen and Isiolo County Commissioner George Natembeya.

According to the PS, the Sh2.7 billion facility is expected to handle 350,000 passengers annually.

The airport was scheduled to for commissioning early this year but did not happen due to runway pavements being worked on due to poor drainage.

“A lot of investments have been put in place for the construction of the airport and it has reached a level where we feel we are ready to start operations,” said the Transport PS.

The officials were impressed with the modern state of the art terminal building, access roads, administration block, runway and aircraft parking apron saying it had been done according to international standards.

Remedial work

“We are currently doing minor remedial work at the facility especially on the runway to provide effective drainage channels to guarantee that water runoff doesn’t sit back on the runway,” added Prof Maringa.

Four potential airlines including Jambojet, Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, Air Kenya and Fly 540 are expected to begin operations.

The PS said the facility will start operations in the next two weeks and afterwards a ceremony will be held where President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend.

Already, Fly 540 has booked a ticket office at the facility.

The airport, which is one of the key Vision 2030 projects, sits on a 260-hectare land has a 4,500 square metre passenger terminal building.

It is expected to promote growth and unlock economic potential of the region and neighbouring pastoralist areas.

The KAA managing director said seven counties including Isiolo, Meru, Marsabit among others will reap big from the facility in terms of export of miraa, animal products and tourism.

“We will be able to handle International flights but we expect gradual development of other air carriers, for now the facility will start operation with domestic flights,” said Mr Andersen.