ISOLO, KENYA,Following months of speculation by locals and business people from the Isiolo County area on when the new airport at Isiolo town would begin operations, it has now been confirmed that the Isiolo International Airport is ready to begin operations in two weeks’ time.

Speaking at the facility here when he led a delegation from the Kenya Airports Authority and the Ministry of Transport for a final assessment tour over the weekend, the Principal Secretary (Assistant Minister) for Transport, Prof Paul Maringa, said the delegation was impressed by the workmanship and progress made since their last visit three months ago, and gave the nod for the flight operations to begin within two weeks.

It is expected that President Uhuru kenyatta will officially launch operations at the airport, but at a later date. According to Prof Maringa, the 2.7 billion shillings (about 26.1 million US dollars) airport has the capacity to handle approximately 350,000 passengers annually.

The airport, which sits on a 260-hectare site, has a 4,500 square metre passenger terminal building and is one of the key Vision 2030 flagship projects for Isiolo County, about 270 kilometres north of Nairobi.

Prof Maringa said the team was hugely impressed by the modern state-of-the-art terminal building, access roads, runway and aircraft parking apron which he has the capacity to accommodate six planes at any given time.

Johnny Andersen, the Managing Director of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), said the airport will undoubtedly promote growth and unlock the economic potential of Isiolo and the neighbouring counties. At least seven counties, among them Meru, Samburu and Marsabit, will benefit from the airport in terms of exports and tourism.

He said the airport would initially handle only domestic flights, with the first one expected to be Nairobi-bound.