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Counties

Nakuru County and KAA in airport talks

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui on August 28, 2017. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui on August 28, 2017. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG 

The Nakuru County Government is working on plans to construct a proposed airport, an idea that first mooted in 2004 but that is yet to materialise more than ten years later.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui, in an interview with Nation on Tuesday, disclosed that the devolved unit, the national government, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) were in talks as it views to have the dream realised.

“I have had talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta who has underscored the need to have an operational airport in Nakuru. My administration is also engaged in deliberations with other stakeholders to ensure the construction starts,” said Governor Kinyanjui.

The move by the County is as a result of intense lobbying by wealthy stakeholders from different sectors in the region.

Mr Kinyanjui said Nakuru, a tourism and horticultural hub, was lagging behind due to lack of a much-needed airport.

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Exports

“Flower farmers in Naivasha will have a chance exploit huge markets by increasing their exports to Europe and the United States. The airport will also make it easier for the County to receive hordes of international tourists,” he said today.

“We are also looking for suitable land to set up the facility. We need an alternative route for flights diverted from Nairobi.”

During emergencies, flights at JKIA in Nairobi are redirected to Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret which are miles away.

Investor push

Wealthy investors and the local business community have been pushing for construction of the facility, saying it would help boost horticulture and spur tourism to the region.

A business caucus in Nakuru led by spokesperson Shadrack Koskei previously said delays in implementing the project is among factors slowing down growth.

Currently, flower firms rely on refrigerated trucks to ferry produce to JKIA, more than 100 kilometres away.

Nakuru County, which produces close to 70 per cent of Kenya’s flower exports, is also known for its tourism and agricultural activities.

Popular sites include Lake Nakuru National Park, Hells Gate National Park, Lake Naivasha, Menengai Crater and Lord Egerton Castle among others.

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