Wilson Airport to get new control tower, office block

A new and taller control tower will be built at Wilson Airport in Nairobi as the aviation regulator moves to boost safety and efficiency at the busy facility.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said a new office block would also be built at the airport to accommodate more personnel to match the growing traffic at Wilson.

“The modern control tower will be [taller] than the current one in order to enhance airport surveillance,” KCAA spokesman Mutia Mundikwa as the agency called for bids for the construction work.

He said the improvements at the control tower will help ease congestion, hence enable the airport operate at its maximum capacity.
The new office blocks will have, among other facilities, a resting room for KCAA controllers and an administration slot with cabling for Internet connection.

“The demands of our staff have changed over time and it is only prudent that we take them into account in the office space we offer them,” he said in a phone interview.

During the construction, the contractor will also handle plumbing, drainage and fire fighting installations.

The project is scheduled to take 52 weeks from when the works start.

The agency has invited interested candidates to a pre-bid meeting on November 12. They have up to November 26 to apply. Wilson Airport is one of the busiest airports in terms of aircraft movement in East and Central Africa. Domestic flights constitute about 90 per cent of the total flights from the airport with international flights accounting for an estimated 10 per cent.

The airport is a convenient gateway from Nairobi to tourism destinations such as the Maasai Mara, Mombasa, Amboseli, Lamu, Kilimanjaro, Diani, Lokichogio and Nanyuki.

Besides Wilson, two new airstrips are also marked for construction in northeastern Kenya and an additional runway built at the aerodrome in Kitale, as part of a strategy to improve connectivity through domestic air travel.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) also plans to rehabilitate the Suneka airstrip in Kisii, which is the main gateway to south Nyanza.

The new airstrips will be built at Mandera-Wargadud and Eldas and with runways of 4,220 and 3,000 metres, respectively, Margaret Muraya, acting general manager in charge of procurement and logistics said.

In Kitale, a 1,700-metre new runway will be built parallel to the existing one to accommodate more aircraft landings and take-off. The Kitale airstrip offers an alternative gateway for travellers to the North Rift.

The number of passengers using airports in the country grew 4.6 per cent in the 201415 financial year, an improvement linked to cheaper airlines introduced on many local routes.

Passengers increased from 8.5 million in 201314 to 8.8 million in the last financial year, said KAA.