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Manda Airport gets Kenya Airports Authority's nod to receive large planes

NEWS
By Philip Mwakio | December 2nd 2014

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has announced that the rehabilitated Manda Airport on Manda Island can now handle large planes such as the Boeing 737 series.

Speaking to the Press when he toured the facility yesterday, KAA chairman Mutuma Mugambi said a second runway had been built at a cost of Sh500 million, adding that the first large planes could land at the airport by mid next year.

"KAA is moving with the times and wants to take advantage of growth prospects in this part of the country. We are putting a world class airport in place that will serve clients in this region that is set to have a port and other infrastructural developments," he said.

CHANGING TIMES

Manda Airport was built in the early 1960s as a landing strip for colonial administrators. It currently receives smaller planes from the National Police Service, the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service and civilian aircraft.

Prof Mugambi said Kenya Airways had made inquiries with the intention of deploying its Embraer jets on the route.

Hoteliers have said the upgrade will boost the industry because the extra flights will add to the number of potential visitors coming to the island.

"For a long time, we have had to rely on smaller aircraft flying in our visitors. This upgrade offers the possibility of more guests coming here and we look forward to that," said Romantic Hotels Manager Keziah Mumbi.

Mugambi, who was with Manda Airport Manager Mohamed Lipi and other officials, said the old runway had been closed and was being upgraded.

OTHER UPGRADES

Other works that have been undertaken at the facility include upgrading the terminal building to incorporate the Lamu architectural style.

Mugambi said the works at the terminal building cost KAA Sh160 million.

The airport land, measuring 196.4 hectares, has also been fenced at a cost of Sh60 million in order to enhance security.

The chairman said KAA had also partnered with the county government to put up solar-powered street lights to light up the main seafront street.

KAA has for the last seven years been one of the key sponsors of the annual Lamu Cultural Festival.

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