By KEPHER OTIENO
The much-awaited Kisumu International Airport will be up and running by May this year after two and half years of renovation and expansion.
The facility is likely to build the Nyanza economy coming at a time when the region is on the path to economic recovery with several investments coming up.
Yesterday, Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Stephen Gichuki said the ongoing construction was 90 per cent complete.
increased passenger traffic
Gichuki said the new terminal building will handle up to 700 persons per hour, translating to two million traffic per annum. This will surpass the current traffic of 300,000.
He made the revelations during Kisumu Airport stakeholders’ business forum that brought together local investors eyeing business opportunities at the port.
"We are at the finishing line and are now focusing on enhancing business opportunities at the Airport," Gichuki told the forum.
He urged those who will be allocated space at the airport to do business to ensure they uphold high moral standards of service so that they stay afloat.
Some of the business openings at the facility up for grabs include duty free shops, and curio shops, cargo handling, catering and transport services.
Gichuki told curio shop investors to use the arts works to promote Kenya’s diverse cultural heritage and to boost tourism earnings.
The expansion is estimated at Sh3 billion. Work at the site begun on 29 October 2009. Initially the works was to end in August last year.
But Nyanza leaders led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked for more funds to extend the runway, which the delayed completion date.
When Completed, Kisumu International Airport will be among the top eight busiest regional airports in East Africa and is expected to create more than 30,000 jobs fuel business growth and stir up the hitherto East African economies by boosting bilateral trade.
Kisumu airport manager Joseph Okumu said the facility would handle Boeing 737-800 planes and Airbus of 310 capacities or any plane with similar capacities that would fly directly from Kisumu to other international destinations.
Nyanza PC Francis Mutie and Kisumu Mayor Sam Okello said local businessmen were upbeat as the expanded airport will open the lakeside side to visitors.