The Kisumu International Airport has received a major boost after the installation of a Sh200 million automated weather observing system (AWOS).
Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said the move has put the facility at par with other international airports and cleared the way for the introduction of direct flights to the US.
The system is among the ten standards required to allow for the direct flights from Nairobi to Washington.
The AWOS supports many operational user groups at the airport, including air traffic controllers, meteorological observers and maintenance personnel.
The CS noted that the new technology will provide accurate and reliable data to ensure airport safety and operational efficiency.
“The government is taking weather forecasting seriously and will endeavour to modernise the Kenya Meteorological Department to ensure that it relays accurate and timely weather information,” she said.
The system has also been installed at the Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Eldoret International Airports. While officiating the opening of the system in Kisumu, the Environment CS expressed optimism that the US flights could be introduced by December this year.
“My ministry is closely working with the Ministry of Transport to ensure all the requirements are met,” Ms Wakhungu said.
“The objective is to ease travels and improve business with the international community by ensuring our flights can connect directly with the other international airports across the globe.”
She pointed out that the 24-hour automated system is expected to enhance safety in the Kenyan aviation industry as it relays real time weather reports for pilots before taking off and landing.
The system measures temperature, wind speed, wind direction, pressure, perspiration, solar radiation and thunderstorms with the information being availed after every ten minutes.
Ms Wakhungu added that the expansion of Kisumu International Airport runway and the modernisation of Eldoret Airport will improve their efficiency as well as decongest the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.