Ukunda Airstrip expansion starts

KAA relocates school to enable revamp of aerodrome

AirstripThe relocation of Mkwakwani Primary School, which sits partly within Ukunda Airstrip (on the south coast of Kenya), has commenced, ahead of the planned expansion of the aerodrome.

According to Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Lucy Mbugua, the relocation of the school, which is estimated to cost Ksh48 million, will be implemented as a corporate social investment initiative by the authority.

“Even as we expand Ukunda Airstrip and other aerodromes across the country, it is important that this does not negatively impact communities living around the aerodrome,” said Mbugua. “It is for this reason that KAA has taken upon itself to relocate this school before expansion begins for the safety of pupils and teachers and a noise-free environment.”

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Eng. Michael Kamau noted that the relocation would pave the way for expansion works to boost the facility’s capacity to handle larger wide-body aircraft.

“The planned expansion will enable this facility to effectively connect the south coast to the rest of the country, thus promoting the tourism industry, which has huge economic significance to this country,” he said.

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya added that the expansion of the airstrip would significantly boost tourism in the south coast, which, until now, has been greatly hampered by poor access.

Workshop vows to encourage Kenyan aviation sector
A workshop on Growth and Development of the Aviation Industry, hosted by Kenya Airways, has resolved to develop a fiscal policy that encourages investment in the sector as well as promote and support Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as the African aviation hub of choice. It also confirmed that a policy would be put in place to ensure that government officials fly Kenyan registered carriers when on official duty.

The workshop, organised by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and held at Kenya Airways’ Pride Centre, brought together major players in the aviation industry.

Deputy President H.E. Hon William Ruto, who presided over the event, said: “The potential of the aviation sector still remains untapped and therefore provides a major opportunity for both growth in the economy and employment.”

He added that this was the first step towards addressing some of the key issues affecting the sector and developing policies to boost its growth.

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mbuvi Ngunze noted that the airline was pleased with the outcome of the workshop.

“As a sector we face many challenges but we are optimistic about the future. The workshop provided an opportunity for KQ to engage with industry stakeholders and map ways of transforming Kenya into a continental aviation hub,” he said.

Other issues resolved included ensuring steps are taken to simplify visa processes and to reduce the cost for entry and transit passengers into Kenya, so as to stimulate passenger traffic into JKIA, as well as to make sure the aviation sector is adequately resourced in the areas of security, regulation and infrastructure development.