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State to pay landowners Sh424mn for Malindi Airport land

The Malindi International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Malindi International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Land Commission (NNLC) will next week compensate some 175 landowners for 25 hectares of land acquired to facilitate expansion of Malindi International Airport.

NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri on Monday revealed that Sh424 million will be disbursed to the affected individuals next Monday.

The compensation will pave way for infrastructure upgrade that will enable the airport to handle direct flights from Europe.

“Initially we had Sh300 million but we increased it by Sh124 million. On Monday we will compensate the landowners and households Sh424 million. We have talked to the beneficiaries on how to use their monies wisely unlike how some squandered the Standard Gauge Railway compensation,” said Prof Swazuri today.

Speaking to Nation during the Land Acquisition, Compensation and Procedure meeting at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa, Prof Swazuri said the NLC has conducted more than five meetings with the beneficiaries on prudent use of their money.

According to the Airport’s officials, the construction of six new hangars will be implemented through public private partnership for the airport.

The additional hangars will create room at the facility for holding more aircraft.

The airport currently has only three hangars but the planned expansion will bring the number to nine.

Currently, low-cost carrier Jambojet, Fly540, Fly-SAX and Air Kenya operate six scheduled flights to Malindi per week.

Save tourism

Kenya is banking on its refurbishment to rescue Malindi’s fledgling hotel industry where facilities are closing down due to a tourist drought.

Hoteliers have also been urging the government to revamp Malindi airport’s infrastructure.

Last week, Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore blamed the delayed expansion of Malindi Airport to the hurting the sector.

The ex-Formula One boss said he was seeking a buyer for one of his exclusive luxury beach hotels in Malindi amid low tourist numbers.

In early January, he changed his mind, saying he wouldn't sell he Sh30,000-a-night Lion in the Sun Resort on expectation of a rebound in tourist arrivals.

Inability of international airlines to fly directly to Malindi Airport and chronic traffic snarl ups from Mombasa’s main airport were blamed for below average tourist numbers in Kilifi County.

Players in the hospitality industry have been urging Kenya to adopt an open skies policy to shore up arrivals in the tourism hub.

Open skies calls for liberalisation of rules and regulations in international aviation especially commercial flying in order to create a free-market environment for the airline industry.

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