The construction of cargo shades that will eventually lead to cargo departures being introduced in Isiolo International Airport has begun.
Addressing journalists following an inspection visit of the facility alongside experts from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the Acting Managing Director at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Alex Gitari said the shades under construction have a capacity to handle at least 10 tonnes of luggage per day and will cost Ksh 20 Million.
This new development is expected to provide a major sigh of relief for miraa farmers from the neighbouring Meru County as well as flower farmers who ferry their products all the way to Wilson airport.
According to Gitari, the project will be complete within the next two months.
The Kenya Airports Authority is at the same time also seeking to extend the airport runway length from the current 1.4 kilometres to at least 2.5 kilometres to enable larger aircraft to use the facility without any hitches.
The Isiolo International Airport whose construction cost the taxpayer in excess of Ksh 3.1 Billion and was officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 23rd July 2017 has failed to live up to its expectations, with some airlines beginning operations to and from the facility and later withdrawing after a few flights.
Gitari however expressed optimism that completion of the cargo shades and extension of the runway will revitalize the facility, with the main target being the miraa market.
The new development will also target meat and animal products once the Isiolo Abattoir is fully operationalized, as well as flowers from the nearby flower farms in the neighbouring Meru and Laikipia Counties.
The Airports Authority boss said that a number of airlines have expressed interest to commence operations to and from the Isiolo International Airport, a move that is also expected to provide a major boost to economic development in the region, especially the tourism, horticulture and livestock sectors.
By Bruno Mutunga