Elwak airstrip still open despite safety concerns

A Kenya Airways plane at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Kenya Airways plane at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The county security committee has recommended the closure of Elwak airstip in Mandera South sub -county over insecurity concerns.

In a letter dated May 23, 2018, Mandera South Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Bundotich informed Freedom Airline Express and five other travel agencies of the intention to close the airstrip.

The DCC made reference to a letter dated May 19 from the County Security Intelligence Committee (CSIC) chaired by the county commissioner wanting the airstrip closed.

“Mandera CSIC meeting on May 19 and subsequently the meeting by Mandera South sub-county security committee on May 21 deliberated at length on the safety of Elwak airstrip.

We noted that though the airstrip has a perimeter fence, it lacks proper security arrangements,” Mr Bundotich states in the letter.


He said the airstrip lacked guidance from the Airport Police Unit, exposing the planes and users to risk.

“Recommendations from both committees are that the airstrip ceases operations until it meets Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) safety and regulatory requirements,” said Mr Bundotich.

Despite these directives from both the county and sub county securitycommittees, operations at Elwak airstrip have gone on uninterrupted.

“We have continued with our business and we fly every Tuesday and Friday of the week without any interference,” said Abdifatah Hassan, a local flight booking agent.

Mr Bundotich however said the matter would be determined by the KAA and KCAA.

“The airstrip is operational but the matter is with KAA and KCAA, ours was to advice on the security situation which we did,” he said by phone.