Flights at the Isiolo International Airport, that has been lying idle for three years, will resume in July in what is expected to attract business people especially Miraa and horticultural traders.
Despite its commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017, Miraa traders from Meru still ferry their produce via pickups to Nairobi for export as the flight cost for 1.5 tonnes of load is nearly four times the cost of transporting by road.
The resumption of the flights, announced by the Kenya Airports Authority, is expected to boost tourism and hotel business in the Northern region by breathing life into the facility.
Kenya Airports Authority Acting Managing Director, Mr. Alex Gitari during an inspection visit said construction of a Sh20.9million cargo shade with capacity of holding 10,000 tonnes daily was underway and will be completed in two months to promote business and attract large aircrafts.
Mr Gitari announced routine maintenance of the 1.4 kilometre runway whose extension, he said, will start soon.
“The airport will be fully operational in two months,” he told journalists at the airport.
He however emphasized on the need to widely market the facility to attract investors and promote business so that it benefits the general public.
The Sh2.7 billion airport, is part of the Sh2.5 trillion Lapsset project and has a capacity to handle 350, 000 passengers, but lacks necessary infrastructure including aviation lights to allow planes land and take off at night which among others has prevented its full utilization.
The official said the government will in partnership with Meru and Isiolo county governments market the facility as part of its business development plan.