December 03, 3019: Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is planning to spend Sh350 million to renovate Wilson Airport in Nairobi, which caters mainly to domestic flights. It came under scrutiny over the quality of its runway and the condition of aircraft flying from there after two planes skidded off the runway.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director general Gilbert Kibe mentioned a host of factors, which hinder the optimum functioning of the airport, necessitated the "comprehensive" renovation.

The fund will be utilised to repair the airport's runway, taxiway, apron along with other key infrastructure.

"Wilson Airport has grown to about one million passengers a year, though it was designed for half that number. This has resulted in congestion, especially by larger aircraft," said Kibe.

KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe told the Business Daily that major works on the project will start once local firms with planes exceeding seven tonnes operating at Wilson Airport relocate to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Frequent air mishaps involving Wilson Airport-based light aircraft have been on the rise recently, exposing laxity in enforcing safety rules by relevant stakeholders.

The latest incident, which took place a few weeks ago, involved a SafariLink plane carrying 10 passengers which veered off the runway after a tyre burst, leading to the closure of the airport for 30 minutes. In October, a Silverstone Air Fokker 50 jet skidded off the Wilson runway while taking off on a flight to Lamu.

Wilson Airport is located to the South of Nairobi and immediately to the South of Langata Road, some 2 kilometres southwest of the junction with Mombasa Road. Destinations served from here include Maasai Mara, Mombasa, Amboseli, Lamu, Kilimanjaro Diani, Lokichogio and Nanyuki. Domestic flights constitute 90 percent of the total flights from the airport with international flights accounting for 10 percent.

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