Kenya has fulfilled the metrological requirement to facilitate direct flights to the USA following the installation of Automatic Weather Observation System (AWOS) at a cost of Sh200 million.
Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said the system has been installed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, as well as Eldoret and Kisumu international airports.
Speaking at the Eldoret International Airport Wednesday where she commissioned the new system, Prof. Wakhungu said the country was close to fulfilling the 10 deliverables set by the US to facilitate direct flights from Kenya to the US.
We have fulfilled the requirements and making good progress to have direct flights from the US to JKIA, and we are hopeful Kenyans will be able to fly directly from the US to Kenya by December this year, said the CS who was accompanied by Environment Secretary Dr. Alice Kaudia and the Director Metrological services Peter Ambenje.
Prof. Wakhungu said new system would improve safety and accuracy in all airports in Kenya as the country strives to become an international hub for air travel.
She said the move to equip Eldoret and Kisumu airports was to reduce concentration of flights in and out of the country, currently primarily focused at JKIA and Mombasa international airports.
We want to open up the rest of the country. That is why we chose to equip Eldoret and Kisumu airports taking into account their importance in opening up the north rift and western regions, explained the CS.
Because of the system, Eldoret airport is now receiving flights directly from international hubs, added Prof. Wekhungu, and going forward, when it comes to aviation and meteorological services, these are the standards we want to meet and provide in the entire region.
And in Kisumu where she launched the installation of AWOS, the CS said this will put Kenya at par with other destinations with international airports across the world expressing optimism that directs flights to USA could be introduced by December this year.
The 24 hour automated system, she said, shall enhance safety in the aviation industry in the country since it relays real time weather reports for consumption by pilots before taking off and landing.
She said the system has the ability to measure temperature, wind speed, wind direction, pressure, perspiration, solar radiation and thunderstorms with the information being availed after every ten minutes.
Prof. Wakhungu added that the expansion of Kisumu International Airport runway and installation of the system at the facility and Eldoret International Airport has paved way for direct flights to the two airports.
This, she said shall decongest Jomo Kenyatta International Airport besides opening up Kisumu and Eldoret International Airports which are underutilized.
The government, she said was taking weather forecasting seriously and will endeavor to modernize the Kenya Meteorological Department to ensure that it relays accurate and timely weather information.
Source: Kenya News Agency