The Officer managing the Kakamega Airstrip rehabilitation and expansion project, Jackson Wanyonyi now says, the project is 98% to completion and will start operations in March this year.
“So far work has been done well, Fencing has been done, engineering office is done, pavements have been done well also,” he noted.
The National Government’s project worth Sh174.7 million is being expanded to accommodate Code 1C Aircraft in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
Wanyonyi who thanked the government for the provision of funds to construct the airstrip said, the facility will open up the western region’s tourism circuit.
He said, with the recognition of the importance of the project to the Government and its Citizens, the contractor mobilized resources and personnel to the satisfaction that led to speedy construction works while adhering to high standards.
Wanyonyi said there is the expectation of a lot of business activities in the region once the airstrip starts operation.
“We are so optimistic that we have enough customers in the Western region counties, instead of our customers going to Kisumu to fly to Nairobi this is their best facility to use. So we welcome everybody, all the counties of the Western region to participate around here so that we grow like other regions,” he pointed out.
The airstrip will accommodate Four planes of Dash 7 Q300 and Dash 7 Q100 with a capacity of 40 passengers each translating to 160 passengers at any given time.
It has a runway of 1289 meters long and an existing apron that was constructed. An apron also called a flight line or a ramp is where the plane packs.
The Airstrip has two new taxiways which will allow for the movement of an aircraft in and away from the terminal building. The airport terminal is a building housing facility for passengers.
After completing all the works, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority(KCAA) will be notified to carry out an inspection and then promulgate through the Notice to Government(Notam).
Currently, the facility is closed for operations through Notam and will only be opened upon certification and approval by the KCAA.
According to the contractor and engineers on-site, all the existing pavements were reconstructed. Limited land, however, hampered the extension of the runway Which will still be done in other phases.
The Engineers said there was a need for construction of a Runway Safety Area(RSA) which can be done in subsequent phases upon acquisition of land since the facility will also undergo a facelift later.
Kakamega County Commissioner John Otieno said the project is almost complete and is awaiting commissioning.
He noted that the project will be handed over to the client, that is the Kenya Airports Authority(KAA), by the end of February to start operations.
“The Kakamega Airstrip is one of the major projects being undertaken by the National Government in Kakamega county and is expected to transform the region,” he added.