Development of Kisumu International Airport is key in unlocking the region’s economic potential, says Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o. Kenya Airports Authority plans to rehabilitate the old airport and passenger terminal at Kisumu International Airport in preparation for Africities Summit Conference slated for May 26 to 30, 2022 in Kisumu.
Phase one of the project was completed in February 2012, at a cost of KShs 3 billion. The second phase, meanwhile, was set to cost KShs 1.9 billion. The overarching purpose of the upgrade is to increase Kisumu’s capacity, as well as to improve the state of the runways. This will see the airport accommodate bigger aircraft and over 300,000 passengers per year and the passenger tower building expanded.
According to KAA projects and engineering services General manager, Fred Odawo the rehabilitation work should be ready before April 2022. Speaking during the launch of the inaugural Renegade Air flight to Kisumu, Governor stated the need to resume works as it will enhance the capacity of the airport which serves the entire western region to attract direct international flights.
The Governor lauded efforts by Selina Gor, Kisumu Airport Manager who also serves as the Western Region Airports Manager. He stated the importance of these developments in preparation for the Africities. “The time is not short, given the present technology to change the face of this international airport.”
According to MD Kenya Airports Authority, Mr Alex Gitari, “for the period January to July 2019, the number of passengers flown into or out of Kisumu to either Wilson or JKIA was 270,000. In 2020, the number slummed to 101,000. This year, in the same period, the numbers have shot up to 286,000. This attests to the recovery of the domestic aviation sector.”
KAA has already leased land to a private developer to set up a cargo-handling unit at the airport to assist farmers in the area export fresh produce. According to KAA Business Development Manager Jimmy Kebati, “Traditionally KAA does not build cargo facilities. What we do is lease land to private developers to put up the infrastructure which we have already done.”
“We lack office space in Kisumu International Airport. Basic procurement processes have already commenced, it will be complete by the time Africities Summit begins,” he said.
According to KAA Engineer Fred Odawo, “in order to be ready for the summit, Kisumu City needs to enhance several infrastructural installations. Part of the projects involves the rehabilitation of the old airport apron.”
Boosting Handling Capacity
The projects will enable the airport to accommodate one million passengers annually from the current 500,000. With this, the airport will have a parking space about one thousand square meters from materials milled from the old apron. Apart from the expansion of the passenger terminal, KAA will be working on the pavements, the apron and the taxiway, where the old airport used to be and a parking garage for vehicles.
A number of international airlines have already applied for direct international flights to Kisumu International Airport. International airlines such as Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines showed interest to have direct flights to Kisumu International Airport because of the cargo facility.
The airport will have a new cargo transit shed refurbished in partnership with ground handling company, Tradewinds Aviation Services Limited to hand a boost to fresh produce growers in the western Kenya region. The structure will have a sitting office space for various government agencies within the transit shed.
Funding was obtained from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure through requisition by the County Government of Kisumu. The government agency has set aside sh157 million for rehabilitation of the passenger terminal including fixing floors, walling, ceiling, air conditioning, electrical and other auxiliary works.