Five airports are set for expansion to accommodate more passengers, whose tally hit an all-time high of 10 million this year.
The targeted airports are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which handles 7.5 million passengers annually, Moi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Isiolo.
Speaking Thursday at the East African School of Aviation’s fourth graduation ceremony in Nairobi, at which he was the chief guest, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia tasked the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to play a lead role in boosting aviation infrastructure and policy.
The government wants to end over-reliance on JKIA, said the CS, adding that funds have been set aside for satellite airports such as Malindi, Suneka and Lokichoggio to be expanded.
“We want to spread out the network to get more passengers,” said Mr Macharia.
The minister said procurement for the second runway at JKIA was under way after the government secured a Sh91.5 billion African Development Bank (AfDB) loan.
He said Africa’s aviation industry was projected to grow by five per cent annually, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), translating to 200 million passengers in two decades.
Mr Macharia praised the KCAA’s role in having Kenya granted Category One status by the United States Federal Aviation Administration, heralding direct flights from Nairobi to Atlanta and New York. African states with the status include Ethiopia, South Africa, Cape Verde and Senegal.
The Transport Principal Secretary, Prof Paul Maringa, said December 7 was the International Civil Aviation Day, which the United Nations proclaimed in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing the Convention on International Civil Aviation in 1944.
Students from Rwanda and Somalia were among the 243 diploma and certificate graduates as the college conferred its first air traffic control and flight dispatch diplomas.
The college recorded the best results in the Kenya National Examinations Council for aeronautical studies as 43 students passed with a distinction. Students were urged not to rely on salaried jobs but seek to be entrepreneurs.