Isiolo Airport’s Kshs.1B runway to be reconstructed after developing cracks

Isiolo International Airport runway will be demolished on experts orders and a new one constructed in what will cost taxpayers another Kshs. 1.4 billion.

The 1.4 kilometres runway which had been constructed a few years ago at a cost of Kshs. 1 billion begun developing dangerously huge cracks with some sections collapsing leaving only 1050 metres usable and unable to accommodate large aircrafts.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Manager for Wilson Airport and Northern Kenya, John Okumu, reported to the Eastern Regional Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (RDICC) in Embu Tuesday that a team of Engineers commissioned by the authority to look into the usability of the airport had recommended that the runway be demolished and reconstructed.

The international airport which forms part of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport(LAPSSET) corridor was commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki at the end of his term in 2013 as part of the infrastructure for the proposed Isiolo resort city envisaged under Vision 2030 blueprint.

The airport has however been dogged by a number of problems, key among them low traffic and the deterioration of the poorly constructed infrastructure.

The facility was also to have drainage and electrical works that would have enabled 24 hour operations done but they never got to be done as air traffic also remained flat.
The RDICC recommendation that KAA promotes the airport in order to increase passenger transport has also not borne fruit.

The committee had also advised that transporters of the perishable khat from nearby Meru North Sub county be urged to use the airport instead of using pickups but they have not shown interest.

The meeting was told that those who own the pickups were seriously opposed to the idea of transporting the khat by air saying they would lose their livelihoods.

The committee felt that using air to transport the miraa would rid the highways to Nairobi of the pickups that are normally driven at breakneck speeds, thus risking lives of other road users.


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