Isiolo airport project kicks off

The Isiolo International Airport is a key part of the Lapsset project. PHOTO/FILE
The Isiolo International Airport is a key part of the Lapsset project. PHOTO/FILE
Construction of the proposed Isiolo International Airport has begun, following the Friday groundbreaking ceremony that was presided over by President Mwai Kibaki.

The project involves the upgrade of the Isiolo airstrip to an international airport at a cost of Sh900 million.

It follows the July 2012 completion of construction work at the airstrip – which included construction of a 1.4 km runway and associated infrastructure at a cost of Sh700 million.

The airport upgrade, which will be undertaken by Northern Construction – a private contractor – will involve extension of the runway to 2.5 km from the current 1.4 km and the extension of the apron to accommodate nine large planes instead of three.

It will also include construction of a 4,500 square metres passenger terminal that can handle 125,000 passengers annually. The passenger terminal building is expected to be complete in two years.

Also marked for construction or expansion are the airport’s taxiways, control tower, cargo terminus, hanger, staff quarters, fire station, parking area and fencing.

“The upgrade of the facility to an international airport will benefit the economy of Isiolo while promoting the socio-economic development of the region,” said President Kibaki.

The President also said that the Isiolo International Airport, which sits on 800-acre land, will facilitate transport within the Horn of Africa region due to its strategic location.

According to the Kenya Airports Authority corporate communications manager Dominic Ngigi, on completion the Isiolo airport will have the capacity to handle heavy commercial aircraft and maximum take-off weight.

“Expanding the runway means a Boeing 737 would be able to land at the airport when the upgrade is complete,” said Ngigi.

The Isiolo International Airport is a key part of Lapsset, an economic and transport corridor that stretches from Lamu port to Sudan and Ethiopia.

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