The Government has expressed concerns over under-utilisation of two international airports, where it pumped billions of shillings, but there seem to be no value for the investments.
Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera yesterday told a parliamentary committee that Kisumu and Eldoret airports were under-utilised, after billions of shillings were used to improve their status. Mr Nyakera said the ministry will open the new Isiolo Airport mid next month and was also undertaking major infrastructural expansion of Kakamega and Ukunda airstrips.
The PS told the National Assembly Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Housing that the mega investments were not making economic sense because they are under-utilised, even as the legislators lobbied for improvement of airstrips across the country.
Nyakera said Kisumu Airport only attracts eight flight landings a day and a similar number of take-offs, which he said was way below its capacity.
“We have to ensure that national resources are well spent. The utilisation of these facilities is wanting. When you consider that only eight flights land in a day at the Kisumu airport, yet Sh3 billion was spent on the facility, then you realise the benefits of the government investment are not being realised,” he said.
Nyakera told the committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda that the utilisation rate of the Eldoret Airport, which was to help handle cargo flights, was only at 15 per cent.
The PS said works on the Sh2.7 billion Isiolo International Airport were almost complete. The airport was expected to start receiving its scheduled flights this month. The airport, boasting a 5,000-square-metre terminal, which can handle up to 125,000 passengers, is part of Vision 2030 flagship projects intended to promote growth and unlock the economic potential of northern Kenya and neighbouring counties.
Nyakera said they will seek additional funds in the next financial year to improve its 1.4km runway and expand it to 2.5km.