The national government has spent Sh19 million to rehabilitate Kitui Airstrip to meet the growing demand for affordable air transport and enhance connectivity with other parts of the country.
Kitui County Commissioner John Ondego said that air transport is now accepted as a fundamental pillar of our global society, as indispensable to our daily lives as medicine and telecommunications and essential for social progress and economic prosperity.
“The growing availability of affordable air travel has considerably widened aviation’s role in our sustainable society. Air travel is no longer a luxury service,” said Ondego on Tuesday at the airstrip situated at Ithookwe, five kilometers west of Kitui Town.
The County Commissioner disclosed that the air transport industry has not only underpinned wealth creation in the country but has also brought enormous benefits to developing economies by unlocking their potential for trade and tourism.
“This is the gateway to Kitui South game reserve. We have driven out all the illegal camel herders and other squatters inside the wildlife sanctuary. At the moment, one is able to see the big five and enjoy the ambience of nature undisturbed,” observed Ondego.
He noted that the airstrip will contribute to sustainable development adding that by facilitating tourism and trade, it will generate economic growth, provide jobs, increase revenues from taxes and foster the conservation of protected areas.
The County Commissioner noted that wealth creation around air transport helps to improve living standards and alleviate poverty through tourism.
“It is worth noting that air transport network facilitates the delivery of emergency and humanitarian aid relief anywhere and ensures the swift delivery of medical supplies,” said Ondego
The rehabilitation works included fencing, car park and construction of a modern ablution block for the public and VIPs.
Ondego said that the airstrip, which sits on land measuring about 12.5 acres, will tilt the economic fortunes of the county once the tender to construct the runway is awarded as it will attract investors in the aviation sector and make it a practical training ground for budding pilots.
“Air transport improves quality of life by broadening people’s leisure and cultural experiences. It provides a wide choice of holiday destinations around the world and an affordable means to visit distant friends and relatives,” he noted.
Further, he noted that the development of air transport on its technical and service achievements make it one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of modern society.
Ondego said that the demand for air services increases the influence of air transport on the global economy, making possible the rapid movement of millions of people and billions of dollars’ worth of goods to markets around the world.
“Plans are underway to complete the runway to allow fixed wing planes to land and take off from the Kitui airstrip,” he added.
by Yobesh Onwong’a