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Diani Hoteliers salute State over Ukunda airstrip infrastructure

By Philip Mwakio | January 25th 2019
By Philip Mwakio | January 25th 2019
Diani Reef Beach Resort Director, Bobby Kamani. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

Investors in the multibillion shilling tourism at the Kenyan Coast have saluted the Government for improving airport infrastructure at the Ukunda Airport with the latest installation of the first civil aviation mobile air traffic control tower.

Mr Bobby Kamani, Managing Director of the award winning Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa and a member of the Coast Working Group for Tourism said that the sh150 million tower displays confidence the Government has in Kenya's South Coast as a destination.

''As Diani becomes an ever more popular holiday destination and conference hot spot for both domestic and international travellers alike, we shall now be able to deal with increased air traffic and a more secure Kenyan airspace,'' Kamani said.

He added that any and all investments into safety, security and efficiency of the growing aviation sector is a blessing to the tourism sector and the country at large,'' he said.

He added that hoteliers in the larger South Coast region look forward to the Ukunda Airstrip being converted into Diani's Airport so that larger aircraft are able to land and take off.

''We remain optimistic that the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) plan to lengthen the runway from 1.2 kilometres to 2 kilometres and the larger construction of an airport terminal takes place by 2020,'' he said.

Kamani said that if Kenya is to expect increased arrivals into the country and on the beach resorts, there is need to have infrastructure that can accommodate such numbers.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said that the new mobile ATC tower situated at Ukunda Airport is to meet air traffic demands and enhance safety in operations at the Airport.

KCAA assures that it committed to growing a superior Civil Aviation system through modern Civil Aviation equipment. “We are happy to be live in Ukunda to provide Aerodrome Air Navigation Services through Kenya’s first mobile air traffic control tower,” the Authority enthuses.

The new tower is expected to enable more efficient air traffic control at the Airport including directing aircraft on the ground and those in the air around the airport, thereby preventing collisions, organizing and expediting the flow of air traffic, and providing vital information and other important support for pilots.

The airport serves the local areas of Diani, Tiwi and Msambweni. The airport operates majorly private charter, providing tourist access between the beach resorts and inland game reserves.

The Airport plans to offer services to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, as well as operate international flights to Zanzibar, Arusha and Dar es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania.

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