Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday commissioned the Isiolo International Airport, opening up the northern tourist circuit to help increase the number of visitors in the country.
Kenyatta said the airport, which is part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, will also boost the economy for the benefit of the residents.
“This airport is a catalyst to economic development that will come with the expansion of tourism and creation of quality job opportunities,” he said. LAPSSET is an economic and transport corridor that stretches from Lamu port in the coastal Kenya to South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The new airport, which is developed and managed by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), is Kenya’s fifth international airport and is expected to promote development in the vast region.
The project will involve the construction of a Passenger Terminal Building covering a floor area of 4,800 sq. m. and with a throughput capacity of 125,000 passengers annually.
The airport, which is aimed at unlocking regional economic potentials, is strategically located for miraa (khat), beef and fresh produce exports from Kenya’s Lower Eastern region.
The ultra-modern airport, which is located in Isiolo County with half of the runway extending to Meru County, covers an area of 329.76 hectares and is elevated about 3501 feet above sea level.
Its runway is 1.4 km long with a new apron that can handle six Code “C” aircrafts.
Its passenger terminal building has a floor area of 5,000 square meters while its passenger terminal car park has a capacity to accommodate 200 cars.
Kenyatta said the airport will open up access to the beautiful northern Kenya tourism attractions, which include eco-tourism, rich cultural heritage, national reserves, private ranches and wildlife conservancies.
The terminal building amenities include nine check-in counters (domestic and international), a VIP lounge, restaurants, duty free shops, banking facilities, forex bureaus, airline front offices and shops.
Under Vision 2030, Kenya’s long term national development plan, Isiolo has been identified to host one of the five resort cities that will be set up as flagship projects.