Officials to discuss threats to Diani Airstrip

Diani Airstrip. KAA says some individuals had constructed buildings on flight path. [Courtesy]
Security authorities at the coast have summoned officials from State agencies to discuss the fate of illegal buildings constructed near Diani Airstrip.

The officials summoned are from Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the National Construction Authority (NCA).

This follows an assessment that high rise buildings pose a security threat to aircraft.

It is not known when the crucial meeting will be held.

Almost two decades ago, a terrorist tried to bring down an Israeli airliner using a surface-to-air missile as it was landing at Moi International Airport.

Kwale is known to have insurgents trained for terrorism in Somalia.

Coast Region Commissioner John Elungata yesterday confirmed all the stakeholders, including those from Transport ministry and security experts, will table their findings on threat at the airstrip.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

This follows an exposé published by The Standard last month on illegal buildings mushrooming near Diani Airstrip that experts say pose a threat to aircraft.

In an interview, Mr Elungata said the matter was now before regional development implementation and coordination committee that oversee government projects and development programmes across the country.

He said Diani Airstrip issue will top the agenda.

Elungata, who is also the chairman of the regional committee that comprise regional directors of ministries and parastatals and senior director of presidential delivery unit, said that action will be taken no matter how painful it will be.

"National Construction Authority will explain their part, same to KCA. This will now give us way forward to take action, including bringing the buildings down," said Mr Elungata.

The regional boss reiterated that passengers' security and that of residents living in the area was paramount and the Government was taking preventive measures instead of waiting for an accident to happen.

Elungata warned that the Government will take appropriate action, no matter who the owners of the said buildings were.

He further noted that since the tourism industry was facing some challenges due to advisories issued by the foreign countries, the Government will do all it takes to improve security of tourists visiting the coastal town.

Security sources at airstrip put the number of obstacles on flight path at 18, which they say must be flattened for the safety of aircraft passengers.

In earlier interview, the KAA had confirmed that some individuals had constructed the buildings on flight path some even going up to 6th floor, way above the recommended two-storey structures hence posing serious danger.

KAA Communication Officer Elijah Miano had told The Standard the agency had written a letter to Kwale County Government protesting the approval of the said buildings.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Diani AirstripKenya Airports AuthorityKenya Civil Aviation AuthorityNational Construction Authority