Improved Wajir airport to unleash business boom - Daily Nation

Improved Wajir airport to unleash business boom

Wednesday November 16 2016

Wajir International Airport. PHOTO | BRUHAN

Wajir International Airport. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BRUHAN MAKONG
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Cargo and passenger volumes at Wajir International Airport are expected to spike following an increase in the number of airlines operating at the airport.

Airport Manager Charles Kionga said the facility is contributing immensely to the country's economy.

A Nation team visiting the airport found it is a beehive of activity, with arrivals and departures of passengers.

“Wajir airport is the third largest and busiest in terms of passenger and aircraft movement. In the financial year 2015/2016, the airport had 15,000 aircraft movements and 123,000 passengers using the airport," said Mr Kionga.

He added that officials expect the number of passengers to rise to 125,000 in the 2016/2017 financial year.

Located four kilometres from Wajir town and about 100 kilometres from Gerille, on the border with Somalia, the airport was established primarily for military activities.

It was commissioned in September 7, 2007 and was initially meant as a control point for commercial flights from Somalia for security reasons.

LOCAL FLIGHTS

“In 2007 we did not have any local flights. But in 2008, we had our first local flight, which [flew] once per week. Since then, local air operators began showing interest in the airport,” said Mr Kionga.

Airlines operating at the airport include Sax Company, Freedom Airline, Skyward Express, Dubai African Express and Juba Airways.

No local products are currently being transported through the airport. But construction is complete on an abattoir that will export meat to the United Arab Emirates and other Middle East countries.

“They intend to use cargo flights from this airport to carry out this business. We expect growth in revenue from cargo flights, pack houses for meat export and cargo transit sheds,” Mr Kionga said.

The expansion of activities at the airport has created several jobs for locals both at the airport and at nearby Wajir.