Kisumu International Airport will be closed on Tuesday for runway expansion by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
As a result, Kenya Airways announced a change in flight schedules on Sunday evening.
“All Kenya Airways passengers booked to travel on this day have been rebooked on the same flight numbers to travel the following day, March 20, when the airport resumes operations,” KQ said in a statement.
During the renovation period, Kenya Airways will not operate its Embraer E-190 planes due to the shortened runway. KQ flights to Kisumu will be operated by Jambojet’s Q400 aircraft between March 20 and 27.
Fly Safarilink Limited Station Manager Fredrick Musiko welcomed the renovation, saying, it will benefit airlines.
“The challenge is only on the flight schedules. Actually, it is for the benefit of airlines,” he said.
“It is just the repair of runway segment five. If they don’t do it now it will cause major issues that may lead to closure of the airport for many months.”
“Normally our flights take off at 7pm, but we have to leave 15 minutes early to allow the contractor to do the repairs by 7pm,” Mr Musiko said.
In the recent past, the airport has dealt with runway lights malfunction and poor drainage during heavy rains. In February, a video emerged showing a leaking roof at the airport’s lounge.
County Director for Tourism, Culture, Arts and Sports Thomas Ouko said expansion of the runaway will pave the way for bigger planes to land at the airport.
“It is a positive move considering that we have been pushing KAA for direct flights from Entebbe and Mwanza to Kisumu,” Mr Ouko said.
“Kisumu remains an entry port for Lake Region Economic Bloc counties and the East African Community.”
During the launch of Safarilink Aviation last September, leaders raised questions on whether there were plans to have direct flights from the region.
Leaders argued that Kisumu was fast becoming an economic hub considering its proximity to Entebbe and Mwanza.
“From Kisumu, Entebbe is just across the corner and so is Mwanza. You can fly to Entebbe and Mwanza and back to Kisumu. Then Ugandans don’t have to waste money going to Nairobi first. If there are direct flights from Entebbe to Kisumu, they will come buy things here,” said ODM Leader Raila Odinga.
Seven commercial airlines namely Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Fly540, Britex Airlines, Freedom Airline Express, Silverstone Airlines and Safarilink Aviation operate daily flights to Kisumu airport.