Govt allocates Ksh.4.7 billion for Maasai Mara Airstrip rehabilitation

Govt allocates Ksh.4.7 billion for Maasai Mara Airstrip rehabilitation

The Kenyan government has launched the upgrading of Angama airstrip to international airport in a bid to directly connect foreign tourists to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The rehabilitation sponsored by the Government of Kenya is expected to be carried out in three phases at a cost of Kshh4.7 billion signalling a significant boost to the world-famous game reserve.

Speaking Tuesday during the ground-breaking ceremony, Solomon Kitunguu, Principal Secretary Transport, said over 80 percent of tourists in Kenya travel through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Moi International Airport and Wilson airport and connect to other domestic airports as majority of tourists includes Maasai Mara in their plans hence upgrading of the airstrip.

“Airport activities are essential for the development of any tourism destination. It has been noted that when a visitor plans a holiday, one of the factors they look into is ease of transport,” said PS  Kitunguu.

Construction of first phase will take 12 months and will entail rehabilitating the existing 1260 meters long runway and expansion of the width from 18 meters to 25 meters to facilitate code C aircraft operations.

In the second phase, the existing runway will be expanded from 1260 meters to 2500 meters length and the width expanded from 23 meters to 30 meters.

Additionally, the second phase will entail construction of a Very Important Person (VIP) lounge.

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According to Tourism PS Sabina Kwekwe, the game reserve is an important tourist destination with 11 airstrips in the entire ecosystem.

She said the building of the airport will connect tourists all over the world to the popular game reserve as it will boost accessibility and be the most comfortable option for tourists.

“This development we have witnessed today will go along in promoting the brand Kenya, we wish to call upon KAA to continue with this job by opening airports in major areas where tourism is key so that they can be equally linked between themselves and other parts of Kenya,”she said.

Kweke reiterated that the government had demonstrated its focus in improving infrastructure in the country adding that the Ministry of Tourism and Transport were working together to promote tourism in the country.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai welcomed the initiative urging Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to consider giving jobs to the youths hailing from his county.

In the last two years, KAA has used over Ksh.10 billion to improve air connectivity in the country.

KAA Managing Director Alex Gitari pledged to continue partnering with its stakeholders until completion of the upgrading project.

He cited some of the ongoing works in Migori, Kakamega, Nanyuki and Lamu saying they are expected to boost connectivity in the country.

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