Ministry seeks Sh4.9bn for Eldoret airport upgrade

The Eldoret International Airport. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
The Eldoret International Airport. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA  

The Transport ministry is seeking an allocation of Sh4.9 billion to fund upgrade of Eldoret International Airport to accommodate large aircraft.

Out of the vote, Sh507 million will be used to buy land while Sh2.852 billion will go to construction of first 500 metres extension of runway under phase1, said Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera.

The second phase requires Sh262.5 million for land and Sh1.2 billion for construction of another 600 metre of the runway.

“We ask therefore that the Treasury allocate Sh3.36 billion in the year 2017/18 budget and Sh1.49 billion in 2018/19 for phased land acquisition and facility development,” Mr Nyakera told the National Assembly Transport and Communications committee on Friday.

Mr Nyakera informed the committee that the funding for the runway extension and other infrastructure works has not been factored in the 2017/18 budget.

He said an advanced team from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) had visited the facility in light of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The team, he told the parliamentary committee, found out that the airport requires runway extension to four kilometres to accommodate the aircraft like the Boeing B747F, airfield ground lighting, runway shoulders, taxiway shoulders and apron expansion.

Apart from the runway, land is required for patrol track, future hangars and relocation.

“We are not asking for additional funds under Eldoret International Airport because we have not provided any funding for expansion in the 2017/18 budget cycle,” he told the committee.

Mr Nyakera said the ministry was proceeding carefully with the expansion of flagship projects such as the expansion of aerodromes.

“In Kisumu for instance, the usage is less than 15 per cent with only eight landings per day for investments of Sh4 billion.

“If we were to spend another Sh4.9 billion to expand facilities at Eldoret International Airport and we don’t use it fully, that will not be proper expenditure of taxpayers money. We don’t need to put up many airports,” he said.

“We intend to put up airstrips in all counties systematically with the availability of money. We have come up with memoranda of understanding with county governments to maintain airstrips in their areas. Ours will be aviation security,” Mr Nyakera told the committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda.

The committee had demanded a status report on the planned expansion of the Eldoret airport. He said the Treasury had provided Sh3 billion for modernisation of Malindi Airport (Sh1.5 billion), Isiolo Airport (Sh884 million), Lokichogio airstrip (Sh150 million), Suneka Airstrip (Sh100 million) and Bomet Airstrip (Sh50 million).