The government will give Nanyuki Airstrip a facelift by constructing a new runway at the facility.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) General Manager in charge of marketing and business development, Jimmy Kibati said that the new runway will measure 1.4 kilometres in length, thus allowing bigger and more aircrafts to land and take off from the aerodrome.
Kibati further said that the refurbishments expected to be complete by the end of 2019 would include a longer asphalt runway, taxiway and a modern apron for parking of aircrafts. The current runway in use at the facility is 1.2 kilometres of murram surface.
Speaking over the weekend during an Investor briefing meeting in Nanyuki, Kibati said tender for the works would be floated in two week’s time and the upgrade to start soon after. He however declined to disclose how much the refurbishments would cost the government.
KAA boss observed that the refurbishments once complete would go a long way in boosting the tourism potential of Mt. Kenya region and Laikipia County to a great extent, adding that similar upgrades would be undertaken in all the 18 aerodromes under Authority in the near future.
We noted that a number of airlines have cancelled flights to Nanyuki airstrip due to the poor state of the runway and most have opted to use private landing strips nearby while ferrying passengers. That’s why we have given Nanyuki priority in refurbishment works in order to reverse the trend, Kibati said.
The meeting that brought together stakeholders from the tourism and hospitality industry noted that the region was yet to exploit its full potential of tourism and called for speedy upgrade of the local airstrip.
Laikipia governor, Ndiritu Muriithi told the gathering that the County receives an average of 5,000 tourists from the United States of America, annually but expressed optimism that the number would jump to 20,000 following the introduction of direct flights from Nairobi to New York.
The direct flights by Kenya Airways will cut the time taken to fly to the country and thus bring in more visitors. We shall aggressively exploit the move and market our tourist destinations aggressively, Governor Ndiritu said.
Captain Allan Mwangi, a Pilot at Lets Fly Aviation announced that the airline would commence flights to Nanyuki in a month’s time.
Cliff Mukulu, a hotelier in the area urged airlines flying to the region to consider reducing air fares which he noted were quite high thus a hindrance to the tourism sector growth.
Source: Kenya News Agency