Is Kisumu an International Airport only on paper?

Posted on November 9, 2015

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February 12, 2012, retired President Mwai Kibaki officially launched the Kisumu International Airport.

The airport built at an estimated cost of Sh3 billion was expected to among other things open up Western Kenya and boost the region’s economy.

Years later, an assessment of the airport indicates that it’s yet to take off. Various media reports at the time of the official opening indicated varying number of passengers it was expected to handle annually.

Pix/ Courtesy

Pix/ Courtesy

One such reports alluded to the fact that at full capacity, the airport was to handle between 600 and 700 passengers daily. This translates to  figure of about  300,000 passengers annually.

But what is more intriguing is that the airport is yet to attract a significant landing and take off by ‘international carriers’.

This, parties in the know have attributed to the restrictions put on the airport from ‘Nairobi’.

According to source,  Kisumu International Airport at the moment doesn’t have full air traffic controls. This is limiting operators who would have otherwise wanted to land in Kisumu from doing so.

In aviation parlance, Kisumu only enjoys the ‘landing and approaching’ controls. Even for airlines destined for Kisumu, air traffic controls originates from Eldoret Airport before being handed over to Kisumu.

Second, unlike other international airports,  the runway at Kisumu International Airport is closed for business by 8.35pm. This is limiting late night arrivals to the lakeside city.

As it is, the airport international status is only on paper.

Kenya Airways, it’s scion Jambojet and Fly540 remains the only active users of the facilities.

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