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MPs orders audit of 8 airstrips over viability concerns

by biasharadigest
Economy

MPs orders audit of 8 airstrips over viability concerns

Isiolo International Airport
The Isiolo International Airport runway in 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

MPs have called for an audit of eight airstrips to determine their viability as the government continues to invest millions of shillings in their renovations.

In a meeting with Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) on Thursday, the National Assembly’s Transport Committee expressed concern on the value of some of the airstrips that continue to burden taxpayers.

The queries emerged from reports that there are no flights landing at Isiolo International Airport despite the Sh2 billion renovation currently being undertaken at the facility.

Isiolo woman representative Rehema Jaldesa told the committee that there is no need of fleecing taxpayers billions for the facelift of Isiolo Airstrip saying it does not have any economic value.

“What is the significance of these airstrips to the counties? The people of Isiolo are not employed there even as casuals,” Ms Jadelsa said.

KAA managing director Jonny Andersen (above) said the agency’s work is to provide infrastructure in the airports but has no control on commercial decisions of airlines to fly in a particular airstrip.

He, however, said the KAA was in talks with several airlines to start using the facility.

“We are in dialogue with several airlines to fly there and promote the economy of Isiolo, hope we will get a breakthrough,” said Mr Andersen.

Transport Committee chairman David Pkosing (Pokot South) told the KAA to engage the leadership of Isiolo, Moyale and Garissa on how to market the airstrip so that it could be of benefit to the country.

“KAA should do an analysis of the models of the airstrips on how they can be marketed,” Mr Pkosing said.

Sotik MP Dominic Koskei there should be a feasibility study on the viability of a project before the government commits any money to such facilities.

“It is sad that we are pumping billions into an airstrip that has no flights,” he said.

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