New Isiolo Airport expected to boost tourism for Northern Kenya

When former Kenya President Mwai Kibaki laid the foundation stone for the planned new Isiolo Airport in February 2013, completion and use of the new facility seemed ages away.

The wait, however, will soon be over, as sources in Nairobi have suggested that the opening for flight operations may now just be a couple of weeks away.

Current Kenya President, Uhuru Kenyatta, will officially open the new airport early next year, but work will continue to further extend the runway from the present 1.4 kilometers, suitable for most turboprop aircraft, to 2.5 kilometers able to handle even small jets.

Isiolo is the gateway to such renowned conservation areas like Lewa Downs – which has its own airstrip for light aircraft – and also the Samburu Game Reserve, the Buffalo Springs Game Reserve and Shaba, all part of a greater ecosystem in the North of Kenya. It is in fact in this part of the country where under the Northern Rangelands Trust a number of private conservancies and game sanctuaries have come together to serve the local communities who have agreed to set aside major parts of their land for conservation purposes and of course to attract tourist visitors.

The new large 5,000-square-meter terminal facility is able to handle as many as 125,000 passengers per annum, in other words more than 10.,00 per month, although it will take a while before these figures are reached.