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KAA To Use Sh350 Million On Potholes Repair At Wilson Airport



Kenya Airports Authority has said that the repair of the potholes at the busiest airport in East and Central Africa—Wilson— will chop Sh350 million off coffers funds.

“The immediate requirement for major rehabilitation at Wilson Airport is Sh350 million. This is what we require for now,” said Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe.

According to Kibe, major works on the project will start once local firms with planes exceeding seven tonnes operating at Wilson airport relocate to JKIA.

The affected planes entail Dash8-300, Dash 8- 200, Dash 8-100, Fokker 50 and Bombardiers that account for a substantial part of the fleet used by locally.

Local Air Operators, who has said that potholes were the reason behind recent faults and accidents, have faulted the KCAA’s move stating that JKIA is equally congested and has no space to build hangars nor carry out repairs.

The move does not make sense since JKIA is equally congested. Remember that it’s practically impossible at the moment to get space to build a hangar at JKIA. We foresee a situation where some airlines will fall out of business,” said an air operator in an earlier interview with the BD.

Kibe did not give a specific timeline within which he expects work on the project to be finished while responding to the operator’s concerns.

“It will be such that you operate from JKIA, but if the aircraft needs to be maintained you fly back to Wilson, go into the hangar and fix it then you come out of the hanger and fly out. It has a cost, yes but that’s the price of progress,” said Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Gilbert Kibe in an interview with the Business Daily.

The laxity in enforcing safety at Willson Airport has been exposed by recent weekly airline mishaps and reported accidents—even though less fatal, but a real disaster in waiting.

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A few weeks ago, a SafariLink plane carrying 10 passengers veered off the runway after a tyre burst. This is the latest incident that led to the closure of the airport for almost an hour.

In October, a Silverstone Air Fokker 50 jet skidded off the Wilson runway while taking off on a flight to Lamu. This happened a few days before another Silverstone Aeroplane lost a tyre after taking off from Lodwar Airstrip in Turkana County which poked holed in the potholes excuses extending the problem beyond Wilson.

According to data, passenger traffic at Wilson Airport rose by 27.8 percent. In 2016, the airport received 413,146 passengers while in 2017 they recorded 528,000 passengers. Traffic to the airport increased to 53 percent making it Kenya’s second busiest airport.


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