The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) should consider expanding the Eldoret Airport to be able to handle bigger airplanes and thus attract more international traffic to the region.
Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago said the North Rift Economic Bloc, (NOREB) has a huge potential in terms of fresh produce that can be exported through the airport.
“As NOREB we have diversified our agricultural practices from maize and wheat to high-value crops that takes smaller space but have good returns like avocado, macadamia, flowers, coffee and fish farming that can be exported to other regions within East Africa region and overseas,” said Mandago.
Speaking on Monday at the Eldoret airport where he launched the inaugural East African Safari Air from Wilson Airport to Eldoret and Lodwar, Mandago said with all the agricultural produce, the North Rift region was keen on expanding linkages locally as well as exploring new fronts within East Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to expand market for its produce.
“The growth of Eldoret International Airport is determined by the innovative routes (attached to business linkages) that the airlines ply. As we inaugurate East Africa Safari Air in Eldoret today, I urge the airline and others to try other destinations within the EAC directly from Eldoret,” he added. The airline will have three weekly flights for a start before upgrading to daily flights later.
The county boss pointed out that Eldoret was a key economic and business hub for not only North Rift region but also parts of East African countries with a huge potential for growth in the air travel business.
“Eldoret hosts several serious government infrastructural institutions like the Kenya Pipeline, Academic and medical institutions and other multinational businesses that have the potential of linking Eldoret to other East African cities. We also have many business persons leaving Eldoret to Entebbe in Uganda on a daily basis which is an opportunity for business growth for the airline industry,” he noted.
“We also have a huge potential for business locally if we make travels easy by launching flights to towns like Kitale and Nakuru from Eldoret town as it takes a lot of time travelling by road,” he added.
Speaking at the same function, the East African Safari Air Managing Director, George Kivindyo said the Nairobi-Eldoret-Lodwar flight seeks to promote intercultural relationship with the two counties of Uasin Gishu and Turkana.
by Kiptanui Cherono