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KAA boss says hotel a danger to aircraft

BUSINESS
By | February 5th 2010

By Standard Reporter

A hotel being built by a minister on land controversially sold by a State corporation could be dangerous to planes landing at the Wilson Airport.

Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director George Muhoho on Thursday told a parliamentary watchdog committee the hotel was sitting on land that belonged to the Kenya Civil Aviation.

"I am told the building is located at the helicopter turning point," he said. The minister is building a five-star hotel nearby.

Mr Muhoho said the authority was never consulted when the land was sold and the buildings started being erected, as the law stipulates.

"The Authority and the Civil Aviation are supposed to be consulted when such buildings are to be built near any airport. That was not the case, although the land in question is outside the airport and the flight path," Muhoho told the Public Investments Committee meeting chaired by Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu.

He said Wilson Airport could not be expanded to take bigger planes for lack of land, adding that Mugoya and Highrise estates nearby posed a danger to the planes since they were built on the flight path.

Airport land

Muhoho also said the Uchumi Supermarket next to the airport was not built on airport land.

"But it is a safety hazard because it is on the flight path," he added.

The KAA boss told the committee currently it was not feasible to build another airport within the city.

"It does not make any economic sense to build another airport within the city when we have JKIA next door that can accommodate bigger planes," he added.

He said KAA was about to embark on the second phase of upgrading JKIA runway to category two, which would include installing a third lighting system to allow landing when there is fog.

"The lighting system will be at the centre of the runway and pilots will have clear visibility," said Muhoho.

He told the committee there had been attempts by some people to encroach the JKIA land, but the authority resisted.

However, he disclosed that land belonging to the Malindi Airport had been grabbed.

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