Last Wednesday’s inaugural commercial flight to Kakamega marked the western region’s opening to trade and tourism, as the Kenya Airports Authority confirmed plans to expand the Kakamega airstrip runway to facilitate more flights.
KAA stated that they were on a mission to open up the western region in order to boost trade and tourism, as well as to make travel to the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) less stressful.
“We are collaborating closely with Kakamega County, led by Governor Fernandes Barasa, to achieve the goal, which will include additional land acquisition to support the runway expansion project,” said KAA Managing Director Alex Gitari.
“When you look at the airstrip’s terminal building, it’s not quite commensurate with the level of business we’d like to conduct at this airport. Even if we work on the runway expansion, we will be expanding the terminal building, specifically to allow for a departure facility to ensure that passengers using this facility are well served.”
Skyward Express’ decision to launch flights to Kakamega, according to KAA Western region boss Selina Gor, is an eloquent testament to their confidence in Kakamega and the Western region. Ms Gor committed to working with the county of Kakamega to ensure the airstrip runs smoothly in order to open up the region.
“We are aware that Kakamega County has not had scheduled commercial flights since May 2014. Skyward Express’ inaugural flight will strengthen the LREB and Kakamega’s position as an entry point into Western Kenya.
Mr Gitari revealed that they were on a national government-directed airstrip expansion drive, which would include the expansion of airstrips in Migori, Kitale, Nanyuki, and Lanet, among others.
The Kenya Kwanza Administration, according to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, who flagged off the inaugural flight to Kakamega at Wilson Airport Nairobi, will expand partnerships with the private sector, including airline operators, to improve the country’s business environment.
The ceremony took place less than a week after President William Samoei Ruto dedicated the rehabilitated Kakamega Airstrip on December 9.