The National Government is finalizing construction of the Kakamega Airstrip, expected to commence operations by March this year.
The officer managing the Airstrip Jackson Wanyonyi said the completion rate currently stands at 98%, with the remaining works expected to be finalized by 28th this month.
“Remarkable progress had been made so far, with fencing, engineering office, pavements all having been done,” he noted.
Thanking the government for provision of funds to construct the airstrip, Wanyonyi said the facility will open up the western region tourism circuit.
He also hailed the contractor for mobilizing resources and personnel that led to speedy construction works, while adhering to high standards.
“There will be a lot of business activities in the region once the airstrip commences operations. We anticipate that we have adequate customers in the Western Region counties, such that instead of them going to Kisumu to fly to Nairobi this will be their facility of choice,” added Wanyonyi.
“So we welcome all the nearby counties to participate around here so that we grow like other regions,” he pointed out.
The airstrip will accommodate four planes of Dash 7 Q300 and Dash 7 Q100 with a capacity of 40 passengers each translating to 160 passengers at any given time.
It has a runway of 1289 meters long and an existing apron, also called a flight line or a ramp is where the plane packs.
The Airstrip has two new taxiways which will allow for movement of an aircraft in and away from the terminal building housing facilities for passengers.
Upon completion of the works, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) will be notified to carry out inspection and then promulgate through a Notice to Airmen (Notam), which is a written notification issued to pilots before a flight, advising them on circumstances relating to the state of flying.
Currently the facility is closed for operations through Notam and will only be opened upon certification and approval by the KCAA.
According to the contractor and engineers on site, all the existing pavements were reconstructed, however limited land hampered extension of the runway, which will still be done in other phases.
The Engineers said there was a need for construction of a Runway Safety Area (RSA), which can be done in subsequent phases upon acquisition of land, since the facility will also undergo facelift later.
Kakamega County Commissioner John Otieno, said the project is almost complete and is awaiting commissioning.
He noted that the project will be handed over to the client that is the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) by the end of February to start operations.
“The Kakamega Airstrip is one of the major projects being undertaken by the National Government in Kakamega County and is expected to transform the region,” he added.
By Moses Wekesa